Romney makes general election pitch in Pennsylvania, but can't ignore Santorum
April 4th, 2012
07:54 PM ET
2 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. A not-so-stupid former republican

    Romney is long on talk and extremely short on substance. His recipe for success seems to be more tax cuts for millionaires and more subsidies for big oil and big business and screw middle and lower income Americans. How many of you are remodeling your beach front mansion to include an elevator for your cars?

    April 4, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens will out spend Rick 50 to 1, and get 41% of the republican vote. After all, he who has the most money wins the republican nomination.

    April 4, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  3. guzman

    Another rich guy who will do little for the working class.

    April 4, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  4. Republicans are Neanderthals

    Vote for me, I will cheat, deny, lie, obfuscate, blame the other guy anything, yes anything to win. Vote for me and your vote will be forgotten the day I take office. You really think a multi-millionaire like me gives a crap about you miserable peons?

    A vote for RoMoney is a vote for more taxes for the middle-class and more tax cuts for the rich.

    April 4, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  5. S. B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem is that Romney is so close, but he isn't there yet. He may have made it hard for Santorum and the others, but he can't say he has won completely. He still needs to flop to the right for the conservative base.

    April 4, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  6. GonzoinHouston

    If the republican rank and file isn't all that fond of Romney, what makes you think the rest of the country will be?

    April 4, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Mitt Romney , who's five sons avoided military service in times of war makes a general election pitch in Pennsylvania .

    Latter day Bush .

    April 4, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  8. Dave

    I was there, real clear, concise, aggressive and focused message. Mitt is getting stronger everyday.

    April 4, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  9. leftwetcoast

    Ah yes, the candidate of corporate America. Yep, Romeny's selling lower taxes and less regulation. Sounds great. Except, those lower taxes only really help those who make the largest salaries and/or make the most off of other people's money. People like, um Romney! Oh, and the regulations he wants to do away with? Nothing important. Just things like clean air, water, pure drugs and food. Not to mention health and safety at work. You know, all those burdensome government regulations that reduce profit maximization and return on investment for those corporate "people." If you like what corporate America has done in the last twenty or so years, you'll love Romney. He's their man!

    April 5, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  10. eMan

    The irony of Romney talking about ANYONE being out of touch is off the charts... Nice try, and keep lying about the Democrats trying to dismantle SS or Medicare. That's just plain lying and desperation...

    April 5, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  11. iadadman

    Romney needs to "touch base" with middle class America? And then you'll vote for him? Then he'll be something different from what he is now?

    Republicans are flat-out asking Romney for a good sales pitch so they'll have some excuse for supporting him. You'd think that would tell people something.

    April 5, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  12. Name: DParke

    Rick stop it already! You lost. Get over it, so we can get on w it! It's not about ur ego its abt getting O out of WH!

    April 5, 2012 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  13. Dave A.

    What a joke!! Romney has NO ideas exept to tear down Obama. All empty rhetoric. Like this millionaire understands
    The middle class!

    April 5, 2012 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  14. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Mitt McCain will beg right thru November as he walks the plank and the economy improves every month. Like McCain in 2008, he has nothing to run on. Obama/Biden 2012!

    April 5, 2012 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  15. ouisee

    It looks like Rich Romney is going to be the next president of the United States. The lower paid in America will not vote, even if you give them a ride. That is too bad because they make up the majority of America. If they do not care to vote, then just leave them behind. Go Romney, get the beggars out of the way, and keep the rich in power.

    April 5, 2012 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  16. Terry

    Mitt Romney is the Sarah Palin of 2012. We lost the 2008 election due to Palin and we are going to lose the 2012 election due to Romney. I was listening to my wife's reading club group, and every woman present (seven) said they felt he was out of touch with the views of women. Those women are conservative voters, and one commented "Surely the GOP will not allow another mistake like the one made in 2008". We are doomed if Romney is selected as our candidate.

    April 5, 2012 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  17. Anonymous

    clearly it is time to move on as the newest polls have confirmed in the state of Pennsylvania. If Romney wins in Pennsylvania then it is incumbent on RS to allow Romney to rally right wing support and start mending fences. We must remove Obama from office and unless we are united under a strong candidate like Romney, we will have to suffer through 4 more yrs of Obama, which is unacceptable!!!! ROMNEY 2012!!

    April 5, 2012 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  18. canuck41

    ROMNEY is exactly what we need to turn the countrys fortune around. Obama has been virtually useless. Obama talks well, but feels to deliver the goods! Romney is one of the best nominees we will have had for several elections!!

    April 5, 2012 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  19. clarke

    Obama understands what is going on better than anyone. I don't care which party, no one can fix it right away, it will take time, but people want everything yesterday.

    April 5, 2012 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  20. JamesSC

    Republicans have clamored that the deficit & the debt of the U.S. is unconsionable. They continue to rant about the spending of President Obama. If they had had the presidency, they would have had no choice but to spend as our president has done to lessen the impact of the recession.

    In his budget proposal, Mitt would lower tax rates across the board by 20%. Of course, that would mean cuts to entitlement programs. But the real problem that they would not address is the very one that they have constantly criticized the president for, the above mentioned deficit & debt. It is another example of their hypocritical methods and a clear example of their desire to give tax cuts for the wealthy, while they gut programs which specifically help those in the middle & lower classes.

    Mitt, and all the Republicans, are despicable & have no shame whatsoever to continue to further the gap between the 'haves' and the 'have nots'. Let sanity reign and let President Obama win re-elction and vote in a Democratic Congress & Senate. America is on the verge of 'taking off' economically, and it will happen for all Americans rather than just the wealthy if President Obama is re-elected.

    April 5, 2012 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  21. Michael

    Romney's pitch. Daddy said I could buy whatever I want and I want to be president.

    April 5, 2012 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  22. Anonymous

    Rmoney doesn't seem to realize that his party/cult is also "government-centered" with the GOBP's desire to regulate peoples lives from their bedrooms to their computers. Rmoney also avoids explaining his alternative, which for him and his party/cult means a "business-centered" view of America where the 1% and their companies are free to plunder resources and exploit people without government interference. Remember that: when a GOBP cult member starts spouting about government "interference" they really mean "government protection of the environment and people."

    April 5, 2012 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  23. Jt_flyer

    Just when my small business is starting to rebound, after 5 lng years of recession, this self serving opportunist is going to try to convince us how bad things really are and how there's no change of them getting any better.... Until our new messiah is elected in november to save us. I got more business in January and February of this year than all of 2011. If YOUR business isnt maybe you need a new business. Don't mess everything up you out of touch, self serving, dynosour.

    April 5, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  24. BB77

    Mitt Romney not only speaks about helping middle class and lower, he also lives by it. Look at how much he gave to his church. Which in return goes back to help others who are in need. I also hear he was a Bishop, now that is service. It is time for the Republican party to unite. Help defend FREEDOM here in the US. Raising taxes is not the resolution to our problems.

    April 5, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  25. Hawk in Texas

    Way to go romney, cut taxes for your rich friends. and we know just who it was that caused the country to be in the shape that it is. REPUBLICANS. Cut regulations so the banks and big oil can keep on raping the middle class.

    April 5, 2012 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
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