Mitt Romney amps up for general election

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at the Newspapers Association of America/ American Society of News Editors luncheon gathering in Washington, Wednesday, April 4, 2012.
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

(CBS News) After his clean sweep in Tuesday's Republican primaries, Mitt Romney is looking ahead to November. He took the stage in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, responding directly to President Barack Obama's first direct attack on him.

Having effectively declared victory in the GOP race, Romney turned his attention to what he views as the two obstacles of the general election: President Obama and the press.

Obama swings back at Romney, talks deficit reduction
In Pa., Romney continues his focus on Obama

"I'm offering a clear choice and a different path," Romney said. "Unlike the president, I have a record that I am proud to run on.

Romney's speech to a room full of journalists offered a sharp line of attack against the president and a request for help in keeping Obama honest.

"He is intent on hiding," Romney said, referring to the president. "You and I are going to have to do the seeking."

Romney said the president would spend the campaign twisting the truth and he pointed to remarks from the day before, when Obama used the same stage, at the same Associated Press forum, to open a fierce attack on the proposed Republican budget.

"It is thinly-veiled social Darwinism," Obama said. "It is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everybody who's willing to work for it."

Romney - whose gaffes on the campaign trail have been fodder for both reporters and rivals - also lamented what he called a new era of journalism that focuses on style over substance.

"Today, it's about what brand of jeans I am wearing and what I ate for lunch," Romney said. "I find myself missing the presence of editors to exercise quality control."

But in his running criticism of the president and the press, one rival Romney did not mention was Rick Santorum, on the trail in his home state of Pennsylvania for what may end up being his last stand.

Santorum told supporters at a campaign stop in Hollidaysburg, Pa., "I'm asking you to help out a person who has some roots in this neck of the woods."

For more with CBS News Political Correspondent Jan Crawford on "CBS This Morning," watch the video in the player above.

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    Jan Crawford is CBS News' chief legal correspondent and based in Washington, D.C.