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Romney Takes Hold of GOP, Seeks to Reintroduce Himself to Electorate

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- Mitt Romney took the reins of the Republican Party in New Hampshire Tuesday night, vowing to put an “end to the disappointments” of the Obama administration while making the pivot to the general election official, acknowledging the need to reintroduce himself to the coveted electorate.

“Tonight is the beginning of the end of the disappointments of the Obama years, and it’s the start of a new and better chapter that we will write together,” said Romney, who spoke just 30 miles from where he launched his bid for the White House last spring.

“After 43 primaries and caucuses, many long days and more than a few long nights, I can say with confidence -- and gratitude -- that you have given me a great honor and solemn responsibility,” said Romney on an evening when he won primaries in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware.  “And, together, we are going to win on Nov. 6.”

Describing the primary race as an “extraordinary journey,” Romney noted that many voters may be ”just now beginning to focus on the choice before the country.”

“In the days ahead, I’ll look forward to spending time with many of you personally,” he said.  “I want to hear what’s on your mind, hear about your concerns and learn about your families.  I want to know what you think we can do to make this country better and what you expect from your next president.”

“And I’ll tell you a little bit about myself.  I’ll start out talking about my wonderful wife, Ann, of course,” said Romney, whose wife had introduced him.

“I’ll probably bore you with stories about my sons and my grandkids,” said Romney, later joined by his eldest son, Tagg, and two of his grandsons.

Romney’s speech, titled, “A Better America Starts Tonight,” was the sign post of the campaign’s shift to the general election, a senior adviser to the candidate’s campaign told reporters earlier on Tuesday.  The next phase of the campaign, the advisor said, “will be marked by more direct engagement with President Obama and his campaign.”

On Tuesday night, Romney did just that, characterizing the Obama years as a time during which “we have seen hopes and dreams diminished by false promises and weak leadership.”

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