U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (C) greets supporters during a campaign rally at a local business in Las Vegas, Nevada May 29, 2012. Romney clinched the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday with a resounding victory in Texas and now faces a five-month sprint to convince voters to trust him over Democratic President Barack Obama in the November 6 election. (Photo: REUTERS/Christopher DeVargas)
Mitt Romney surpassed the 1,144 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination after his win in the Texas primary Tuesday, and promised to get America "back on the path to full employment and prosperity."
"I am honored that Americans across the country have given their support to my candidacy and I am humbled to have won enough delegates to become the Republican Party's 2012 presidential nominee," Romney said in a statement Tuesday after early returns showed he won at least 88 delegates in Texas with 64 left to be decided.
Nevertheless, Romney, who was the presumptive nominee since Rick Santorum dropped out in April, will not be the official nominee until the Aug. 27 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
"Our party has come together with the goal of putting the failures of the last three and a half years behind us," Romney wrote in the statement. "I have no illusions about the difficulties of the task before us. But whatever challenges lie ahead, we will settle for nothing less than getting America back on the path to full employment and prosperity. On November 6, I am confident that we will unite as a country and begin the hard work of fulfilling the American promise and restoring our country to greatness."
Formerly Romney's top rival, Santorum congratulated the nominee: "Congrats to @MittRomney for securing the nomination tonight," he tweeted Tuesday. "It's important for us all to come together now to defeat @BarackObama."
Pizza magnate and former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain also mentioned Romney in his tweet. "@MittRomney gets delegate count. Remember the Mission... defeat Barack Obama!"
Former rival and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who helped Romney in fundraising last week, also supported the former Massachusetts governor. "He's a better candidate today than he was four years ago and four months ago," The New York Times quoted Perry as saying. "He has shown improvement all along the way, and that is always the sign of a good competitor who continues to take lessons learned."
Romney, who becomes the first Mormon nominee of a major party, launched a fresh attack on Obama Tuesday, apparently in response to the criticism by the White House that he eliminated hundreds of jobs during his tenure as head of Bain Capital. Romney accused Obama of misusing taxpayer money on certain companies, including Solyndra that received $528 million in federal loan guarantees and later declared bankruptcy, according to a new video posted on Romney's website Saturday.
Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, was quoted as saying of Obama's campaign, "They've had a hard time trying to paint Governor Romney as somehow sinister. The fact is every time they attack Mitt Romney for his experience in the private sector, they reinforce the idea that President Obama is hostile to the private sector."
Romney previously sought the GOP nomination in 2008, but pulled out of the race later. Sen. John McCain of Arizona reached the threshold after winning the Texas primary in early March of that year.