Romney addresses newspaper group and sets his sights on the general election.

In a preview of the general election, Mitt Romney was poised, analytical, and confident in a speech he gave before the Newspaper Association of America in Washington on Wednesday.

Not only was the former Massachusetts governor riding high after three primary wins the night before, but he was for the first time in a while addressing a crowd not made up of campaign supporters. The result was an oratory that was less riddled with red meat applause lines and more focused on presenting contrasts between himself and President Obama, particularly on the economy, reforming entitlement programs such as Medicare, and foreign policy.

“Free enterprise has done more to lift people out of poverty, to help build a strong middle class, to help educate our kids, to make our lives better than all of the government programs put together,” Romney said. “If we become one of those societies that attack success, one outcome is certain–there will be a lot less success. That’s not who we are. The promise of America has always been that if you worked hard, and took some risks, that there was the opportunity to build a better life for your family and for the next generation.”