Presidential candidate Mitt Romney effectively assumed the helm of the Republican Party Tuesday, rolling to five primary victories in as many states.
His wins across the Northeast solidified his status as the party nominee-in-waiting who is trying to unite conservatives and appeal to independents.
He is trying to deny President Barack Obama a second term.
Romney received a major boost in delegates from New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware, moving closer to official GOP nomination.
He marked the milestone by outlining themes of the fall campaign.
"Americans have always been eternal optimists," Romney said. "Over the last three and a half years, we have seen hopes and dreams diminished by false promises and weak leadership. Everywhere I go, Americans are tired of being tired."
Romney, who fought back challenges from a Republican field that once included nearly a dozen rivals, has been shifting his campaign toward the general election since his most serious rival, Rick Santorum, left the race this month.
The rapidly-expanding Romney campaign is settling on a message for the fall campaign. Taking a page from Ronald Reagan, he urged Americans to consider whether they are better off now than when Obama took office three years ago.