Entries in Illinois primary (4)


After Win in Illinois, Romney Says ‘America’s Greatest Days Ahead’

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(SCHAUMBURG, Ill.) -- Mitt Romney used his victory speech in Illinois Tuesday evening to launch fresh attacks on President Obama, juxtaposing his own economic background with the president’s and suggesting that a former law professor can’t turn around the struggling economy.

This was also a much more optimistic Romney than we’ve seen lately.  He talked about protecting the hopes of Americans with dreams and a “future that is brighter in these troubled times.”

His new tone is in sharp contrast to the boatload of negative ads he and his allies ran in Illinois.  It’s also a sign that the campaign understands the importance of giving voters something to vote for, instead of just telling them who they should vote against.

Drawing on many of the themes he delivered during an economy speech at the University of Chicago earlier this week, Romney repeated that under Obama’s leadership, America no longer leads in manufacturing, but instead in lawsuits.

“When we replace a law professor with a conservative businessman as president, that will end,” Romney said Tuesday evening at a hotel ballroom that was filled with about 300 people.

His speech, which ran just under 15 minutes, had an optimistic tone to it, with the candidate suggesting that “economic freedom” and not “personality” will be the choice faced by voters.

“Tonight is primary, but November is a general election,” Romney said.  “And we’re going to face a defining decision as a people.  The choice will not be about party or even personality.  This election will be about principle."

“Our economic freedom will be on the ballot,” he said.  “I’m offering a real choice and a new beginning.  I’m running for president because I have the experience and the vision to get us out of this mess."

“Join us, join us,” Romney said.  “Together we’re going to ensure that America’s greatest days are still ahead.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Santorum Tells Supporters to ‘Saddle Up Like Reagan Did’

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(GETTYSBURG, Pa.) -- Despite suffering a double-digit loss in Illinois to Mitt Romney Tuesday night, Rick Santorum pointed to the delegates he will gain in the night’s primary as being the catalyst to boost his quest for the Republican presidential nomination and told his supporters to “saddle up like [Ronald] Reagan did in the cowboy movies.”

“We had really no expectations of winning Illinois, but we’re going to come away with a lot of delegates, which is going to keep us in the hunt,” Santorum said during an impromptu speech at his primary night event.  Santorum later noted in his official speech that he won the areas of Illinois that “conservatives and Republicans populate” and predicted he would net between 15 and 20 delegates from the night’s primary.

“It wasn’t a tough night, we did very well,” he told reporters after his official primary night speech.  “We picked up a lot of delegates tonight in a very tough state.  One that no one had any expectations for us to win in.  We did what we had to do.  We got the delegates that we could get and you know, we’re feeling good, again, it’s very clear, it’s a two-person race, and now we need to get all the conservatives to line up behind us.”

In a 15-minute speech to a ballroom filled with more than 700 people, Santorum looked ahead to Louisiana, where he heads Wednesday and Friday, as well as Pennsylvania, his home state, where he asked supporters to “saddle up like Reagan did in the cowboy movies” and help him in the next “five weeks for a big win and a big delegate sweep.”

Santorum stressed that he is the lone candidate who can provide the “contrast” to President Obama in the race, while tying Romney to the president for adopting similar healthcare plans.

“There is one candidate in this race who can make that contrast with the current occupant of the White House.  There is someone in this race who has all of that, someone who has the track record of being for you, being for solutions that empower people, being for limited government.  Someone who can fight the biggest issues of the day, whether ‘Romneycare’ or ‘Obamacare,’ they’re interchangeable,” he said.

Santorum said he called Romney before his speech to congratulate him on his win and even joked with the crowd that Romney has decided to incorporate Santorum’s message of freedom into his own speeches.

“I was pleased to hear before I came out that Gov. Romney has adopted that theme in his speech tonight,” he said.  “I am glad we are moving the debate here in the Republican party.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Does Romney Have an Enthusiasm Problem in Chicago Suburbs?

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The fact that Mitt Romney is expected to win Illinois' primary Tuesday night shouldn’t come as much of a shock.  Not only has he drastically outspent his main GOP rival Rick Santorum, but the demographic make-up of the state is tailor-made for the former Massachusetts governor.

More than 60 percent of the vote is expected to come from the Chicago-area suburbs, while a much smaller portion of the vote comes from rural downstate.

Suburban voters are typically less ideological and focused more on pocket book issues than social issues, something that should prove right up Romney’s alley.

But a drive through suburban Chicago found pockets of deep Santorum enthusiasm and underlying concern about Romney’s inability to connect with voters.

Romney supporter state Rep. David Harris, who represents the Cook County suburb of Mt. Prospect, worries that Romney still hasn’t been able to connect with skeptical conservative Republicans.

“I think Mitt Romney is just as conservative as Ronald Reagan -- when Reagan said something, you kind of felt it’s coming from his soul.  You just know that’s the way the guy feels,” said Harris, whose office displays photos of his days as a Reagan campaign aide.  “And while I believe that Mitt Romney is just as conservative and feels those same things, it just doesn’t come across or get conveyed the same way.”

Moreover, Harris sees an enthusiasm gap in the suburbs that could hurt Romney.

“This is a very quiet election,” he said.  “The more quiet the election, the more committed type of person comes out.  Perhaps Sen. Santorum’s folks are a little bit more committed, so I think you’ll see a good turnout for him.  I think Gov. Romney will win, but the percentage of victory might not be as big as it otherwise might have been.”

Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran is one of those enthusiastic Santorum supporters who should worry the Romney camp.  At a local tavern in Long Grove, Curran, a former Democrat, denounced Romney as out of touch or, as he put it, “off in la-la-land.”

“I think Romney travels in circles of only the uber-rich and as a result he has a hard time connecting with large blocks of America -- certainly the middle class, which is very much overlooked right now,” Curran said.  “Santorum is being outspent 10-1, he is being destroyed in misleading ads, but he’s still there.  Why?  Because when people meet him, they see he’s the real deal, his authenticity.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


On Obama’s Home Turf, Santorum Says Illinois Primary Is Key

AFP/Getty Images(ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill.) -- In a suburb just outside Chicago, Rick Santorum urged a crowd of over a thousand voters to take Tuesday’s Illinois primary seriously, arguing that he is the only candidate who is capable of beating Barack Obama and that Illinois holds the potential to greatly influence the outcome of the race.

“Everyone says Illinois, Barack Obama’s home state, won’t have any impact on this election. You have a chance on Tuesday. You want to defeat Barack Obama. There’s only one guy in this race who can do it, and you need to make sure he wins Illinois on Tuesday,” said Santorum at a rally in the gymnasium of the Christian Liberty Academy.

“I’m asking you, I’m pleading, that you understand that your honor is on the line. You uphold the honor of the people of Chicago and Illinois, and the great statesmen that have come from here,” said Santorum adding that these statesman were “in the past,” a direct jab at President Obama. “You have a unique duty here in Illinois to correct a wrong.”

Santorum criticized the president for not only underestimating the amount that his health care plan would cost the American taxpayers, but also accused him of masquerading the truth behind eloquent speeches. “I know all of you are shocked at this revelation. I know you all thought that it would come in less and that the president's persuasive speeches about how he was going to save money and premiums would go down and costs would go down,” said Santorum. “The seas would recede. The sun would always shine. All of these great predictions of the president have remarkably not come to pass. I know that shocks you because you here in Illinois have such experience with his truthfulness.”

Santorum took the opportunity to tie Obama’s alleged untruthfulness to Mitt Romney, saying that his Massachusetts healthcare plan demonstrates that he is akin to Obama.

“We already have someone in Washington who doesn’t tell us the truth. We don’t need anybody else there to do the same,” said Santorum.

Aside from hitting Obama and Romney, Santorum’s event focused primarily on social issues, while also delving into foreign relations, specifically Iran.

Two male Occupy protesters interrupted Santorum’s speech with a mic check and kissed each other in the bleachers before they were escorted out as the crowd chanted “USA! USA! USA!”

Santorum campaigned in the St. Louis, Missouri area Saturday morning ahead of the state’s primary and will be traveling throughout southern Illinois for the remainder of the day.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio