Romney makes general election pitch in Pennsylvania, but can't ignore Santorum
April 4th, 2012
07:54 PM ET
3 years ago

Romney makes general election pitch in Pennsylvania, but can't ignore Santorum

Broomall, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Mitt Romney set foot in Pennsylvania on Wednesday in full general election mode, attacking President Barack Obama’s “government-centered” view of America and promising to restore “freedom” to the middle class.

“Please help me defeat Barack Obama next November,” he asked an energetic crowd in Broomall, a suburb of vote-rich Philadelphia. “We just got to get him out of office. He just doesn’t understand what’s happening to the country.”

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The event, Romney’s first in Pennsylvania ahead of the April 24 primary, had a boisterous feel as the Republican frontrunner basked in the glow of his three primary wins the previous night in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Supporters rewarded the rote lines in his stump speech – promises to lower taxes and cut regulations combined with sharp attacks against President Obama’s management of the economy - with hearty applause that sometimes drowned out his words.

But as much as Romney wanted to pivot to the general election, especially in a state that will be a key battleground in November, he could not escape the nagging reality that his trip to the Keystone State was fundamentally about Rick Santorum, not the president.

“On April 24, I need you to take the next step,” Romney told the crowd, asking for their votes in the upcoming Republican primary.

Romney did not mention his Republican opponent in his remarks, but he is spending two days here with clear designs on vanquishing Santorum in his home state, hoping to undercut his rival’s candidacy once and for all.

On Thursday, Romney departs the Philadelphia area, where he’s likely to perform well in the affluent suburbs, and will venture into the central part of the state to campaign in Harrisburg and Scranton, two locales where Santorum may have an advantage.

A recent poll showed Santorum barely leading Romney in Pennsylvania, one of five northeastern states holding primaries later this month.

Several Republicans who attended the rally said they were excited to get on with the general election fight and finally put months of Republican infighting behind them.

“Santorum is just not presidential material,” said Micki DiBella Pirrotta, a property manager who was laid off from her job last year. “I can’t wait to vote against him.”

But Bill Smith, a Republican who works as a foreman at a welding facility, said Romney still has to prove that he cares about the middle class and working Americans instead of wealthier people.

“The man has to touch base more with middle America and lower America,” Smith told CNN. “He needs to not just speak about it, he has to live it. He is from upper America. He pays a lower tax rate than I do. But he is a businessman and maybe that would be good for us.”

Also see:

Santorum on losses: 'It's halftime'

Romney pounces on Obama's budget remarks

Gingrich not pleased after shout out from Obama


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Pennsylvania • Rick Santorum
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. shapiro

    Romney is fake. He want to be president of a country that is great grandfather left for Mexico. he also hide his money in overseas bank when the country was in recession. Can you wake up America and think?. I dont believed some people actually listened and clapped to this flapper.

    April 5, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  2. taylor

    whats happening in our country has been caused by a radical, right wing, whacko takeover of the republican party!!

    April 5, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  3. tony

    Romney said that three things he would do about the economy, focus, focus focus on specifically what? supporting the ryan budget, which is let granny, and grampy die give more to the rich so that they can create jobs, we are tired of that, it has been going on for 12 years, and i see no jobs, the stimulus is what created jobs not the Republican party Obama/Biden 2012 four more years.

    April 5, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  4. Joe Syxpak

    Should I vote for the Christian,Obama or the Cultist,Romney? I can't wait to watch the other 3 Republican candidates do a 360 and start praising Romney ,contradicting everything they've said about him in the past and urging you to vote for a non-Christian because he's the Republican (not enough of a reason for me) Republicans are wearing blinders if they think Evangelicals and the Religious Right will vote for a Mormon just because he's the white guy.

    April 5, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  5. tony

    Fellow Americans let us not forget the feeding frenzy of the Republicans, and there rich friends under Bush.

    April 5, 2012 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  6. Justin

    Prepared to swallowed alive by the Obama machine. He should focus on Santorum as long as he can. This election is gonna be a complete slaughter.

    April 5, 2012 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  7. LineOfSighT

    In my own opinion if Romney is not a Mormon he will have the nominee already. A lot of republican voters would rather vote for someone because of that. I will vote for him and i think he have the experience to get the economy going.

    April 5, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
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