Fresh off a big win in Nevada, Mitt Romney ignored his Republican rivals in his victory speech Saturday night and instead tore into President Obama.
“This is not the first time you've given me your vote of confidence,” Romney said, referring to his victory over Arizona Sen. John McCain in the caucuses four years ago. “And this time I'm going to take it to the White House."
Throughout his speech, Romney sought to portray himself as the presumptive Republican nominee. The former Massachusetts governor has won three of the early contests — New Hampshire, Florida and Nevada — but his opponents have pledged that they are not giving up on the race.
Romney tried to contrast his campaign proposals with the economy under Obama. Romney said he is a candidate who cares about Nevadans' problems and would offer them jobs instead of broken promises. He peppered his speech with references to Nevada's economy – that its foreclosure rate is the highest in the nation, its 12 percent unemployment and its plummeting home values – to fire up angry voters in a state gave Obama 55 percent of the vote in 2008.
“Four years ago, candidate Obama came to Nevada promising to help,” Romney said. “But after he was elected, his help was telling people to skip coming here for conventions and meetings.”
He was referring to the administration's criticism of Wells Fargo and other bailed-out companies that planned meetings and conventions in Las Vegas.
“You can't take a trip to Las Vegas or down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers' dime,” Obama said in February 2009.
The president's criticism of junkets to Nevada were not well-received at the time, and clearly still rankled Nevadans, who loudly booed when Romney reminded them.
“Well Mr. President,” Romney said, “America has had enough of your kind of help.”
With 15 percent of precincts reporting, Romney had 42 percent of the vote. Newt Gingrich was second with 25 percent, followed by Ron Paul with 20 percent and Rick Santorum with 13 percent.