SCHAUMBURG, Ill. - Mitt Romney used his victory speech in Illinois this evening to launch fresh attacks on President Obama, juxtaposing his own economic background with the president's and suggesting that a former law professor can't turn around the struggling economy.
This was also a much more optimistic Romney than we've seen lately. He talked about protecting the hopes of Americans with dreams and a "future that is brighter in these troubled times."
His new tone is in sharp contrast to the boatload of negative ads he and his allies ran here in Illinois. It's also a sign that the campaign understands the importance of giving voters something to vote for, instead of just telling them who they should vote against.
Drawing on many of the themes he delivered during an economy speech at the University of Chicago earlier this week, Romney repeated that under Obama's leadership America no longer leads in manufacturing, but instead in lawsuits.
"When we replace a law professor with a conservative businessman as president, that will end," Romney said at a hotel ballroom was filled with about 300 people.
His speech, which ran just under 15 minutes, had an optimistic tone to it, the candidate suggesting that "economic freedom" and not "personality" will be the choice faced by voters.
"Tonight is primary, but November is a general election," he said. "And we're going to face a defining decision as a people. The choice will not be about party or even personality. This election will be about principle.
"Our economic freedom will be on the ballot," he said. "I'm offering a real choice and a new beginning. I'm running for president because I have the experience and the vision to get us out of this mess.
"Join us, join us," Romney said. "Together we're going to ensure that America's greatest days are still ahead."