Mitt Romney stumps in Illinois

March 19, 2012 8:14:23 PM PDT
GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney had an ambitious campaign schedule in Illinois Monday with stops in Springfield, Chicago and Peoria.

While candidate Rick Santorum is the biggest threat to Romney in Tuesday's primary, Romney says he is the biggest threat to President Obama in November.

Acting as though the Illinois primary is behind him, Romney attacked Obama on the president's home turf and downstate.

Charlie Parker's diner in Springfield served as the backdrop for Romney's first Illinois campaign stop Monday. The Republican presidential candidate is already thinking November by dishing out attacks on Obama, specifically blaming high gas price on the president's energy policy.

"We also have to get the president out of his job and turn to somebody who will get America energy secure and energy independent, and I will do that," Romney said.

Trading his Levis for a suit, Romney travelled a few hours north to President Obama's Hyde Park neighborhood to continue the attack. With American flags behind and an a teleprompter ahead, Romney spoke about the economy at the University of Chicago, the home of the late conservative economist Milton Friedman, whom Romney quoted. The candidate's entire speech was based on economic freedom, something he said is eroding because of the Obama administration's government regulations.

"Our freedom is never safe because unelected, unaccountable regulators are on the prowl. And under President Obama they're multiplying like the proverbial rabbits," he said. Click here to watch Romney's full speech at UofC

Not until the brief question and answer period did Romney talk about his plan to cuts taxes, a plan he calls revenue neutral because he wants to reduce deductions and exemptions.

Outside, Democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky called Romney's tax plan phony.

"Under the Romney vision, everyone is left to fend for themselves except for the very wealthy," she said.

Those who attended Romney's Chicago speech were mainly supporters. However, 25-year-old Susan Christensen is an undecided voter.

"I don't doubt his integrity. I think definitely leans me towards him but there's also a lot of qualities ... that leave me undecided," she told ABC 7.

Christensen said she did not like that fact the Ronmey said he would get rid of Obama's health care law, eliminate funding to PBS, the arts, Amtrak and Planned Parenthood.

In a conference call to reporters, the Obama campaign called Romney's University of Chicago speech overhyped and filled with rhetoric.