Romney wins Michigan and Arizona primaries

Washington: Inching closer to bag the Republican presidential nomination, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney today won primaries in Michigan and Arizona, defeating Senator Rick Santorum in a tight race.

Now all eyes are on Super Tuesday, March 6, when primaries are scheduled in about 10 States. A major victory next week would almost seal Romney`s nomination, experts say.

While final results were yet to be declared, based on the poll results so far, major media outlets here had declared Romney as the winner in both Michigan and Arizona.

"I was confident that we could come together today and take a giant step toward a brighter future," Romney said in his victory speech referring to the poll numbers last week when he was trailing behind Santorum.

Romney said his campaign is about restoring the promise of America. "Last week, I unveiled a very bold economic plan that`s going to jump-start the economy, and it`s going to get Michiganders back to work, it`s going to get Americans more jobs they`re crying out for, and we`re going to have less debt and smaller government, and I`m going to deliver on more jobs, less debt, and smaller government. We`re going to hear that day in and day out, more jobs, less debt, smaller government."

Romney has so far won contests in six states: New Hampshire, Florida, Nevada, Maine, Michigan and Arizona. "This is a decisive moment, I believe this is a time that requires real leadership in our country. Times are tough. We need leaders who will live with integrity, who have the courage to tell the truth, and have the experience to get our economy back on track. That`s the kind of leader I aspire to be; that`s the kind of leader I will be if I`m president of the United States," he said.

"Our campaign is more than just replacing a president. It`s about restoring America`s promise. From generation to generation, Americans have always known that the future would be brighter and better. Americans have always believed in a tomorrow full of possibility and prosperity. That`s what it means to be the land of opportunity," Romney said.

Running close second to Romney, Santorum cast the close outcome in Michigan as a sign of success. "A month ago, they didn`t know who we are, but they do now," Santorum said.

"We all have that responsibility, to make both work and work as well as we can, and it`s getting harder out here in America. It`s getting harder for people to make ends meet, because we have a government that is crushing us every single day with more taxes, more regulations, and the idea that they know better than you how to run your life," he said.

"That ultimately is about what this race is about. It goes down to the very nature of who we are as Americans. We need a president who`s on the side of rural America, who`s on the side of small-town America, and opens up those energy resources for America," he added.

Two other candidates, former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, made little effort in either state, pointing instead to next week`s Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses.

Gingrich said the challenge is to present a clear and compelling alternative so that the country has a really clear sense of what the difference is.