Romney becomes Obama’s rival
LAS VEGAS, Nevada
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov Mitt Romney (C), Sen John McCain (R) and San Diego Veteran of the year Marine David Dickey stand together during a campaign stop at the Veterans Museum & Memorial Center on May 28. AFP photoMitt Romney has clinched his Republican party’s White House nomination by winning its Texas primary, vowing to get America “back on the path to prosperity” by defeating Barack Obama in November.
“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,” Agence France-Presse quoted Romney as saying. Romney, the only candidate who actively campaigned in Texas, won 69 percent of the vote, against 12 percent for Ron Paul, 8 percent for Rick Santorum and 5 percent for Newt Gingrich.
Obama’s birth row clouds victory
Texas, the second most populous U.S. state, had 155 delegates up for grabs which, added to the former Massachusetts governor’s tally of 1,064, takes him well over the nomination threshold of 1,144 delegates. Poll aggregates show Obama narrowly ahead. The latest RealClearPolitics average shows the president with a two-point lead, 45.6 to 43.6 percent. Romney’s victory was clouded by a revived controversy over claims by billionaire tycoon Donald Trump, a high-profile Romney supporter, questioning where Obama was born, and therefore his right to be president.
Trump, with whom Romney attended a fundraiser in Las Vegas as the Texas results came in late May 29, spent much of the day insisting there were still lingering doubts about whether Obama was really a natural born U.S. citizen. “Nothing has changed my mind,” he told CNBC about the so-called “birther” issue, adding: “I’ve been known as being a very smart guy for a long time. I don’t consider myself birther or not-birther but there are some major questions here and the press doesn’t want to cover it.”
Romney’s campaign was forced into damage control hours before the two men appeared together, with spokeswoman Andrea Saul saying Romney “has said repeatedly that he believes President Obama was born in the United States.” Romney would be the first Mormon to be nominated for president by a major party. His religion has been less of an issue than it was during his failed bid four years ago.