Romney Wins Arizona, Michigan

Posted February 28th, 2012 at 11:20 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. presidential hopeful Mitt Romney claimed victories in two primary contests Tuesday, easily winning Arizona and pulling ahead in the tough battle in his native northern state of Michigan.

Romney thanked cheering supporters Tuesday night for what he described as a “great victory” in the two states.

“And thank you Michigan. What a win. This is a big night. Thanks, you guys. You know, a week ago, it was just a week ago, the pundits and the pollsters, they were ready to count us out. But…I was confident that we could come together today and take a giant step toward a brighter future. So tonight, their efforts have brought our cause a great victory, and we celebrate with people across these states. Thank you.”

He criticized the policies of President Barack Obama, while pledging to create jobs, get the economy back on track, and reduce debt and the size of government.

Romney fought hard in Michigan to fend off main challenger Rick Santorum, who has surged in the polls and had a three-state victory earlier this month in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. The two were virtually tied in opinion polls going into Tuesday's contest.

Romney once held a commanding lead in Michigan, the state where he was born and where his father was a popular governor. He won the state's 2008 Republican primary.

Santorum thanked supporters Tuesday night, saying they had helped propel him to the front ranks of the nominating contest.

“A month ago, they didn't know who we are. But they do now…You know, we came into the back yard of one of my opponents in a race that everyone said, well just ignore, you have really no chance here. And the people of Michigan looked into the hearts of the candidates, and all I have to say is, 'I love you back.'”

He also criticized the policies of President Obama and talked about the economy, cutting federal spending, and decreasing dependency on foreign oil.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, is having difficulty gaining support from social conservatives, who are rallying behind Santorum.

Texas Representative Ron Paul and former House speaker Newt Gingrich are far behind in the polls. Gingrich turned his campaign efforts Tuesday to Georgia, a state he represented in Congress for two decades. Paul held an evening rally in the eastern state of Virginia.

The primaries come a week before the much-anticipated “Super Tuesday,” when 10 states hold presidential nominating contests to pick a Republican candidate to face President Obama, a Democrat, in the November election.