SOUTHFIELD, MICH. -- In the days leading up to tonight's primary, Mitt Romney promised Michigan voters that he would bring jobs back to the state and come up with a plan to revitalize the automotive industry here within his first 100 days in office. With tonight's big victory in what was a must-win state for his campaign, Romney's economic message has paid off.
"Tonight proves that you can't tell an American that there's something they just can't do because Americans can do whatever they set their hearts on," Romney said to a room full of cheering supporters. "And tonight is a victory of optimism over Washington-style pessimism."
With his wife Ann by his side, the former Massachusetts governor beamed as he soaked up his first major victory in a GOP primary. After disappointing second-place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, many pundits were ready to write Romney's political obituary. But with his win in delegate-rich Michigan, Romney is right back in the thick of the race.
"Tonight we are celebrating here in Michigan, I've got to tell you that," Romney said. "Guess what they're doing in Washington? They're worrying because they realize—the lobbyists and the politicians realize—that America now understands that Washington is broken and we're going to do something about it."
After his defeats in the Iowa and New Hampshire, Romney tried to put on a happy face by touting his "silver medal" finishes. But tonight there were no Olympic references, as he let his gold-medal performance speak for itself.
Romney heads to South Carolina tomorrow where he trails Mike Huckabee and John McCain in recent polls. Though he plans to compete there, perhaps more important to his campaign's strategy is Nevada, which holds its caucuses on Saturday.
The Romney campaign hopes to win in Nevada, while letting Huckabee and McCain duke it out for a victory in the more heavily-contested South Carolina primary. But Romney isn't ready to give up on any of the upcoming GOP contests.
"Let's take this campaign to South Carolina and Nevada and Florida and all over the country," he said. "Let's take it all the way to the White House."