HARRISBURG, Pa. - Mitt Romney set the bar today for the importance of a primary election win in Pennsylvania, dubbing the state "critical" in taking the White House this fall.
"I do believe that I will win Pennsylvania in the fall, and winning Pennsylvania wins the White House, so it's a critical state for me," Romney said, stopping by his Harrisburg campaign headquarters to greet volunteers and make a few phone calls to voters.
"I think everybody expects someone to win their home state," said Romney, who carried both Massachusetts' and Michigan's Republican primary contests. "Newt Gingrich won his state, I won my state. I think people expect the senator to win his home state. But I'll pick up a lot of delegates, and we have several other states with contests the same day. I hope to win all of those. And if I can win the others and pick up some delegates here, it will give me a stronger lead."
This is Romney's third stop in the state since launching his campaign last year, the candidate spending the morning reaching out to voters and then addressing supporters on the roof of his headquarters.
Saying the president lives in a "bubble in Washington, D.C., surrounded by people who love everything that comes out of his mouth," Romney added that no matter a person's political affiliation, Americans have "one destiny."
"This is not about one person or about even one party. We're Republicans and Democrats in this campaign but we're all connected with one destiny for American and that destiny is greatness and exceptionalism," Romney said. "We have a president who I think is a nice guy, but he spent too much time at Harvard perhaps or maybe just not enough time actually working in the real world."
Momentarily tripping over the exact date of Pennsylvania's primary and joking that it's hard to keep track of the days when you're on the road so much, Romney made a plea for delegates.
"I need your help you guys," Romney, 65, said. "As you know, I want to win Pennsylvania in November. I'm going to win Pennsylvania in November. And the reason that's going to happen by the way is that the people of Pennsylvania have taken a good look at conservative leadership. They've seen your Senator Pat Toomey, they've seen your governor, they've seen the conservative leaders are the people who will help grow the middle class.
"The people of Pennsylvania on Nov. 6, I believe, will vote for me and give me the support I need to become the next president of the United States."