Rick Santorum: If I Win The Illinois Primary, I Win The Nomination

Rick Santorum on Saturday guaranteed that a win in the Illinois primary will result in his nomination as the Republican presidential nominee.

"This is a primary, and turnout is everything. You do your job, you do your job, then this is the pledge," Santorum said. "If we're able to come out of Illinois with a huge or surprise win, I guarantee you, I guarantee you that we will win this nomination."

Illinois has largely been predicted to favor Mitt Romney for Tuesday's primary. The vote is expected to be driven by Chicago and its surrounding suburbs, pegged as unfavorable territory for the former Pennsylvania senator's brand of conservatism. But in areas like Effingham, hours south of the Windy City, Santorum hopes to fire up a Republican base that is often overshadowed by its Democratic counterparts to the north.

"You know you don't get a chance to out-vote your friends up in the Chicago-land area very often, but this is a primary and turnout is everything," he said, standing in a warehouse of a local business specializing in kitchen equipment.

While stumping in the Land of Lincoln, Santorum said he feels like he's already running in the general election.

“People ask me why I’m the best candidate to run against Barack Obama," said Santorum. "It’s because I feel like, in many respects, I am running against Barack Obama here in this primary because Mitt Romney has the same positions as Barack Obama in this primary.”

The health care bill that Romney signed as governor of Massachusetts is the issue Santorum has been hammering him on most frequently.

Santorum says the legislation laid the groundwork for the health care bill Obama signed in 2010, and therefore a Romney nomination would prohibit him from successfully running on a platform of repealing it.

Energy is another issue Santorum claims his Republican rival shares with Obama. “Why, with sky rocketing gas prices, would we nominate someone who had the same position as President Obama with respect to fossil fuels?" he asked.

Santorum began his day stumping in neighboring Missouri, a state that held a non-binding primary that he won last month, but today is holding caucuses. During a visit to a caucus site in Hazelwood, Santorum claimed dominance: "If you look at the Midwest, all of the Midwest is one color. It’s our color. We’ve won every state in the Midwest."

That statement dismisses Ohio and Michigan, two states Romney won, as part of the Midwest. Asked about it later in the day, Santorum said, "Well, I meant the heartland."

But even in the Show Me State, it was clear how important the primary happening happening across the Mississippi River will be to the Santorum campaign. “When you leave here, go home, sign up on our website, start calling folks in Illinois. Because we’ve got a big election coming up in a couple days in Illinois," he pleaded. "Please help us out there. If you’ve got friends over there, make sure they get out and help us out."

And even with an aggressive campaign schedule in two states today, the Italian American still found time to show his St. Patrick's Day spirit. On the stump he wore a green boutineer and his campaign manager tweeted out a picture of him enjoying a Guinness at an Irish pub between stops.

"I usually get there in the morning so I felt a little bad I didn’t get there until lunch time," he said of his March 17 traditional pilgrimage to the pub.

Update: In response to Santorum's comments on Saturday, Romney campaign spokesperson Ryan Williams had this to say:

"Senator Santorum is an economic lightweight who has precisely zero job creating experience. He ought to scare every conservative when it comes to his economic record. We won't get the economy going again by replacing one senator with no job creating experience with another with no job creating experience."

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  • by Lavon Location: Goldsboro on Mar 20, 2012 at 05:31 PM
    I cannot think of 1 legitimate reason why I vote democrat. I always vote democrat even though I agree with almost everything the republicans stand for. It feels like I am being controlled by so outside power, like I'm brainwashed. I cannot defend anything Obama, or anyone in the democrat party, has ever done so I am forced to use name calling. I know it is sad, but voting democrat is a disease, once you start you cannot stop!
  • by Lavon Location: Goldsboro on Mar 18, 2012 at 08:14 PM
    Im voting for Obama. These Republicans are nuts
    • reply
      by obamanot on Mar 19, 2012 at 06:20 AM in reply to Lavon
      I am sure he is happy to get four votes out of 100 plus people that post on this forum almost every day.
  • by Anonymous Location: Greenville on Mar 18, 2012 at 02:15 PM
    The only bit of hope the United States has is to elect Ron Paul. "Restore America now"
  • by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2012 at 12:25 PM
    Just another self righteous, bible thumping moral crusader. Sanitarium is a bigger idiot than Plin.
    • reply
      by Ed on Mar 18, 2012 at 01:41 PM in reply to
      So,you're saying that all bible thumpers would be smarter if they had themselves an "Honorable Rev. Wright? and you call someone else an idiot
      • reply
        by The Facts on Mar 18, 2012 at 03:20 PM in reply to Ed
        Are the talking points back around to Rev. Wright again? I thought that this week the President was a Muslim, not a radical Christian. They change so fast...and with Rush back-peddling, and faux news keeping a steady supply of LIV's out there, I guess I can understand your confusion.
        • reply
          by Obama Snake Oil Co on Mar 20, 2012 at 05:25 AM in reply to The Facts
          Its always been about Rev Wright and Pflieger...also the tides foundation, George Soros, Bill Ayers, Dorn and Pivens, where have you been? I guess too busy attending communist rallies.....
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2012 at 03:49 PM in reply to Ed
        What makes you so high and mighty, Ed?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2012 at 01:54 PM in reply to
      Is that possible? All the Baggers just love her and was ready to vote her in as VP. Looks like they are bigger idiots than she is.
      • reply
        by Obama Snake Oil Co on Mar 21, 2012 at 08:36 AM in reply to
        You must have hated your mother...she actually made you clean your room and take out the trash....wow, the anger against women...
  • by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2012 at 10:04 AM
    ..and turtles will outtun humans....
  • by Ed on Mar 18, 2012 at 08:29 AM
    Obama = Free stuff,theres no silver bullet,free stuff GEORGE BUSH,free stuff, theres no silver bullet,free stuff,GEORGE BUSH,FREE STUFF,THERES NO SILVER!!!!!!!! Obama voter = YOU DAH MAN MR. PRESIDENT !! YOU ARE THE MAN !!!!!!!!!!! YEAH! THIS GUY IS A JEWEL!!!!!
    • reply
      by Suzanne on Mar 18, 2012 at 12:55 PM in reply to Ed
      EXACTLY. Sick of it.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2012 at 06:36 PM in reply to Suzanne
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2012 at 01:51 PM in reply to Ed
      FREE STUFF, MORE OIL SUBSIDIES PER THE GOP! The other stuff is only a drop in the bucket!
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2012 at 03:44 PM in reply to
        Suzanne are you sick of that too?
        • reply
          by Suzanne on Mar 18, 2012 at 04:33 PM in reply to
  • by NC voter Location: Eastern NC on Mar 18, 2012 at 08:12 AM
    Santorum will not get the nominee. He doesn't have a chance to get it. Santorum lost the US Senate race in PA 10 years ago because the voters vote him out and Santorum is a big government spending. He is not conservative.
    • reply
      by Eyes Wide Open on Mar 18, 2012 at 12:59 PM in reply to NC voter
      Big government spending like adding $5 TRILLION to the national debt in just over 3 years??? He has integrity!!
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 19, 2012 at 10:42 AM in reply to Eyes Wide Open
        That never happened.
  • by Farmer on Mar 18, 2012 at 07:41 AM
    It's either a team effort to write the obituary of the late, great GOP, or a last desperate cry for help. I have republican friends who literally weep at what has become of their party.
  • by Eyes Wide Open on Mar 18, 2012 at 07:18 AM
    National Debt is $15.5 Trillion, an increase of about $4.9 Trillion since Obama took office and gas prices are up by about $2/gallon. With these numbers climbing everyday, who couldn't beat Obama? This will be worse than the landslide of Jimmy Carter!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2012 at 01:34 PM in reply to Eyes Wide Open
      Keep thinking like that, It shows your ignorance.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2012 at 03:43 PM in reply to
        Everytime he post he shows it!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2012 at 06:40 PM in reply to Eyes Wide Open
      Maybe you should see a Optometrist, even if your eyes are wide open, you are obviously as blind as a bat.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 20, 2012 at 01:50 AM in reply to
        And stupid as a Turkey.
      • reply
        by Eyes Wide Open on Mar 20, 2012 at 03:36 PM in reply to
        Are you saying the national debt is not at $15.5 Trillion?
  • by Suzanne Location: New Bern on Mar 18, 2012 at 07:14 AM
    I won't let anyone sway me from voting with my heart and my mind. Santorum 2012! Naysayers don't matter, and I don't need Obama's crappy change that's just made this country a laughingstock. I can't wait to see him here in our great state!
    • reply
      by To crazy Suzanne on Mar 18, 2012 at 01:33 PM in reply to Suzanne
      I hope he wins the nomination, can't wait to see Obama make an ascot out of him during the debates. He is crazier than that idiot Palin......ohhhh....I bet YOU supported her also....LOL, LOL, LOL....
      • reply
        by Suzanne on Mar 18, 2012 at 02:21 PM in reply to To crazy Suzanne
        I actually didn't. I want a man with a soul to lead our country.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2012 at 06:41 PM in reply to Suzanne
          I like one with BRAINS! No one in the GOP fit the build.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2012 at 03:41 PM in reply to Suzanne
      Santorum is a laughing stock! If he wins the nomination, 20 percent of Romneys supporters have already said that they will support President Obama instead of this Nutcase. Now take your clown shoes off, sit down in the corner with snake oil.
      • reply
        by Suzanne on Mar 18, 2012 at 05:41 PM in reply to
        Take your pants off of your head and stop being a keyboard crusader. What supporters say they will do means nothing. What they actually end up doing means everything.
      • reply
        by justine on Mar 19, 2012 at 08:35 AM in reply to
        Just proves what Santorum has been saying all along--if 20% of Romney supporters would vote for Obama, then Romney must be a lot closer in ideology than anyone else! We don't need another liberal Rep or Dem. This country needs Revival not revolution!!
    • reply
      by Mrs. E on Mar 18, 2012 at 04:02 PM in reply to Suzanne
      I stayed up until 2 am watching Santorum's book talk on cspan from 2005. I just couldn't turn off the tv. Everything this man was saying fit right with my beliefs and instilled values that I hold dear. I'm with Suzanne....SANTORUM 2012 !!!
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2012 at 06:56 PM in reply to Mrs. E
        Sure you did.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2012 at 07:47 PM in reply to Suzanne
      Don't forget to put your swasikas out long with your flags and bibles. You people are blind.
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