SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Stopping by a breakfast joint in central Illinois just after sunrise to the delight of patrons settling in to massive mounds of fried potatoes and flapjacks, Mitt Romney was still riding high from his victory in Puerto Rico, noting that the diner's famous 16-inch pancakes were nearly as large as his win on the island.
"These pancakes are something else, I'll tell ya," said Romney, standing in the dining room of Charlie Parker's Diner in Springfield admiring the dish known as a "Charlie's Famous Giant Pancake." "These pancakes are about as large as my win in Puerto Rico last night, I must admit. The margin is just about as good."
The pancakes, which go for $4.95 each, are so massive that they are served on a pizza pie dish, and were featured on the popular Food Network show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," a program known for highlighting outrageous plates at restaurants across the country.
"I'm looking forward to getting one of these pancakes. Can I get one of these on the way out? Not the super big one, I can't fit that in the vehicle, all right," Romney joked. "The car's only a Chevy SUV."
As diners - some of who admitted they were "too nervous" to eat in front of him - looked on, Romney made brief remarks, noting that he actually believes the economy could be on the uptick.
"I believe the economy is coming back, by the way. We'll see what happens. It's had ups and downs. I think it's finally coming back," said Romney, who is set to deliver an economic speech this afternoon at the University of Chicago. "The economy always comes back after a recession, of course. There's never been one that we didn't recover from. The problem is this one has been deeper than it needed to be and a slower recovery than it should have been, by virtue of the policies of this president. Almost everything he's done has made it harder for this economy to recover."
Shaking hands with voters and offering to help them eat their breakfast plates, Romney stopped by the counter before leaving, keeping his word and ordering food to go - pancakes and a "horseshoe" - a mound of ham piled high with his choice of potatoes.