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Mitt Romney In Chicago: Sends Obama HQ Leftover Pizza, Says Illinois Is 'In Play' In 2012

First Posted: 05/27/11 12:46 PM ET Updated: 07/27/11 06:12 AM ET

Romney

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney stopped in Chicago Thursday to raise money, chat with supporters and chow down on some Chicago-style deep dish pizza. He also didn't shy away from criticizing President Obama on his home turf.

“I know we’re only a couple of blocks away from President Obama’s re-election headquarters, but there’s no state that is safe for President Obama given the performance of our economy,” Romney said at Gino’s East Thursday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “I like the president. He’s a nice guy. But he doesn’t have leadership experience.”

Romney also swiped at Republican rival Newt Gingrich, who is on his third marriage, saying that the president should be someone who "respects their family," the Sun-Times reports.

After Romney listened to business owners discuss their concerns with the current economic climate over mushroom and sausage pizza, Romney was apparently in a giving mood. ABC News reports that he sent some extra pizzas over to Obama's reelection headquarters.

"Great deep dish at @ginoseast. Sending the extra slices to @barackobama and his Chicago HQ team," Romney tweeted.

A campaign source told ABC the pizzas did arrive.

Also while in Illinois, Romney also announced that Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford will serve as the campaign's state chairman for Illinois.

"As a longstanding and important part of the political and business community in Illinois, Treasurer Rutherford understands the challenges facing our country," Romney said in a statement. "He realizes that in order to jump start our economy and create jobs, we need to cut spending, lower taxes and reduce government. I am grateful for his support and look forward to working with him in the future."

The announcement comes after Rutherford called on Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the state legislature to stop borrowing to pay for operating costs. He even threatened to send letters to companies, telling them not to loan money to the state, saying that the debt from borrowing has risen to $45 billion in recent years.

"If I need to send letters to the rating companies to tell them the treasurer of Illinois is opposed to more borrowing, I'm going to do it," Rutherford said Monday, according to The Pantagraph. "We need to cut our spending and break our unsustainable borrowing cycle before we realize a further financial disaster."

After their fundraiser and pizza party in Chicago, Rutherford and Romney headed to Champaign, Illinois for another fundraiser at the corporate headquarters of Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches. The owner of Jimmy John's, Jimmy John Liautaud, is a big GOP donor and plans to move his business out of Illinois following the state's latest income tax hike.

"(Rutherford) was with me last time around, and made things happen here," Romney said. "This time we’re going to be more successful."

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Filed by Jen Sabella  |