-- Mitt Romney is not expected to call himself the Republican presidential nominee tonight after polls close in five more state primary contests. But according to excerpts of the remarks he'll give in Manchester, N.H., the presumptive GOP nominee will get very close.
"After 43 primaries and caucuses, many long days and not a few long nights, I can say with confidence--and gratitude--that you have given me a great honor and solemn responsibility," Romney will say, according to speech excerpts released by his campaign. "And, together, we will win on November 6th."
Romney's speech, titled, "A Better America Begins Tonight," has been touted by his campaign as the candidate's official shift to the general election match-up against President Obama—even though Romney has yet to lock up the full 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination.
According to the speech excerpts, Romney will stick to the theme he's sounded in speeches across the country over the last week, insisting Obama has failed to deliver on his promises to turn the country's economy around.
"Four years ago, Barack Obama dazzled us in front of Greek columns with sweeping promises of hope and change. But after we came down to earth, after the celebration and parades, what do we have to show for three and a half years of President Obama?" Romney will say, according to his campaign. "Is it easier to make ends meet? Is it easier to sell your home or buy a new one? Have you saved what you needed for retirement? Are you making more in your job? Do you have a better chance to get a better job? Do you pay less at the pump?"
Romney will accuse Obama of running re-election campaign based on "diversions, distractions and distortions."
"That kind of campaign may have worked at another place and in a different time. But not here and not now," Romney will say. "It's still about the economy … and we're not stupid. "
Romney will talk of the America he envisions should he win the presidency, with a "growing middle class … rising standards of living" and "children more successful than their parents."
"In the America I see, character and choices matter. And education, hard work, and living within our means are valued and rewarded. And poverty will be defeated, not with a government check, but with respect and achievement that is taught by parents, learned in school, and practiced in the workplace," Romney will say, according to excerpts. "This is the America that was won for us by the nation's Founders, and earned for us by the Greatest Generation. It is the America that has produced the most innovative, most productive, and most powerful economy in the world, with one of the highest standards of living of any major nation."
Romney is scheduled to speak around 9 p.m. ET.
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