Romney in Chicago for campaign fundraisers

October 27, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Increasingly, Romney is being promoted as the inevitable Republican presidential nominee.

Outside his offices, Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford talked politics Thursday. Rutherford is the Illinois chairman for the Romney campaign.

"I think that Mitt is being perceived now, across the country, as being the alpha Republican candidate," said Rutherford.

Rutherford was pushing the concept of Romney's inevitability and why people in President Obama's hometown will give the former governor lots of money.

"I believe he is sincere, is honest and trustworthy as they come," said Rutherford. "The second thing is I think what America needs right now is someone that understands economics."

Romney will attend a $1,000-a-ticket fundraiser in the River North neighborhood. After that, he will have dinner with well-heeled backers Susan Crown and William Kunkler at their Lake Shore Drive home.

Not all Republicans are on the Romney train. State Representative Jim Durkin, as John McCain's Illinois chairman in the 2008 presidential election, tangled with Romney.

"He's got a lot of money, he's very smart, he's got good business instincts, but I personally have to think that some of the positions that he took when he was the governor of Massachusetts and has changed right now, I have some concerns about," said Durkin.

Romney passed a state healthcare law that the Obama administration praises as a model for its reforms, and Romney has flip-flopped on issues such as abortion and anti-union laws.

"I think it shows a little bit about the leadership of an individual who did take such dramatic positions a few years ago and now has completely done a complete reversal on those," said Durkin.

Romney's local backers do not seem too worried.

"I look back into 1980 - there were ten people running for President of the United States when Ronald Reagan finally got the nomination, there was a whole plethora of people. It's not too dissimilar today," said Rutherford.

Durkin is supporting Texas Governor Rick Perry. Romney has focused his campaign on the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries and does not have as many resources on the ground as Perry and others in Iowa, the first state to hold a 2012 presidential nominating contest.

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