Santorum Stumps for Illinois Win over Romney

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The GOP presidential candidates will compete in President Barack Obama's home state of Illinois, Tuesday.

Recent polls among potential voters there show former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has a lead over former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Still, Santorum is putting up a tough fight.

Monday, he campaigned in Rockford, trying to convince conservatives that their grandchildren's future could depend on this election.

"This can be an amazing time in American history and right here in Illinois you can usher that in. You can surprise the pundits. Amaze them with conservatives," he said.

Romney is hoping that Illinois will burnish his front-runner standing after a win this past weekend in Puerto Rico, where he took all 20 delegates.

"I appreciate your willingness to vote on Tuesday. I need your vote on Tuesday," Romney said at a campaign stop.

On "Fox News Sunday," Romney hinted that political pundits were focusing too much on delegate totals.

"I know a lot of people will talk about delegates and strategies and math, and that's all very interesting to the insiders," Romney said.

Yet on the campaign trail, Romney himself has his own special fondness with math.

"I've got, I think, twice as many delegates as anyone else in the process," he recently said. "We have got ... two, two-and-a-half times as many delegates as he has ... and by the way, last night, I got more delegates than anybody else."

In addition to Santorum's time in Illinois, he's gearing up for the March 24 primary in Louisiana, part of a southern strategy where his stand on faith and social issues resonates.

"Every single day when we go out and talk to folks, I hear the same thing over and over again: 'I'm praying for you, I'm praying for you,'" Santorum said.

Romney's focus is mostly on the economy, and he's compared Santorum's skill at handling economic issues to President Obama's.

"I don't think you're going to be replacing an economic lightweight with another economic lightweight," Romney charged.

With former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul still in the race, Santorum's goal is to get a one-on-one debate with Romney.

"See if Gov. Romney is willing to come out. He's been turning down every single debate. He's hiding behind the billionaires who are funding his Super PACs all running negative ads," Santorum said on ABC's "This Week."

Santorum could really use a primary win in illinois. But, even if he were to win, he could still lose the day's delegate count to Romney.

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John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

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