HARRISBURG, PA -- Dropping by his state campaign headquarters here Thursday morning, Mitt Romney said he expected former Sen. Rick Santorum would win his home state's primary later this month, but that he would carry the Keystone state in November's general election.
"I think everybody expects someone to win his home state. Newt Gingrich won his home state; I won mine. I think people expect [the] senator to win his home state," Romney told reporters between phone calls to supporters as part of a phone-bank effort.
"But I hope to pick up a lot of delegates, and we have several of the states in the contest on the same day. I would like to win all of those, and if I could win the others and pick up some delegates here, it would give me an even stronger lead."
Later, delivering remarks on the roof of the headquarters building, Romney predicted he would win Pennsylvania in a fall match-up against President Obama.
"I need your help, you guys. 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," he said, then mentioning the state's two best known Republican leaders, neither of whom has yet formally endorsed. "They've seen your Sen. Pat Toomey. They've seen your governor. They've seen he conservative leaders are the people who will help grow the middle class."
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney stopped by his Pennsylvania headquarters today where he told supporters he will win the state in November's general election, but Romney lowered expectations for this month's primary campaign against the state's former senator Rick Santorum saying "people expect the senator to win his home state." Video edited by NBC's Matt Loffman
Romney also set the stage for a fall campaign here that would focus in no small part on energy policy -- a major issue here. Pennsylvania is in the midst of a sometimes-controversial gas-drilling boom, and is the leading petroleum-refining state in the northeast. The world's fist commercial oil well was drilled in Titusville, and the state's cultural and historical links to the coal industry are well-documented.
"This is a president who, I don't think he likes energy terribly much, or at least some of the energy," Romney said of President Obama. "He said the other day he was for all of the above. I think he was referring to all of the things that are above the ground. I mean, he likes the wind and the solar, but he doesn't like the stuff that's under the ground like coal and oil and natural gas. I like those sources of energy. I like what's above the ground and below the ground. And if I'm president, I will have not only all of the above, but all of the below."
The Obama camp issued this response: "Under President Obama, we have increased our domestic production of oil to an eight-year high and decreased our dependence on foreign oil to a 16-year low while doubling the production of renewables."
While campaigning in Pennsylvania, the former Massachusetts governor also continued to level accusations that President Obama -- not Mitt Romney -- is the one out of touch with the American people and out of his economic depth. Romney (who spent four years at Harvard earning a combined JD/MBA) called Obama a "nice guy" who "spent too much time at Harvard perhaps, or maybe just not enough time actually working in the real world."
"I'm afraid he's been in this bubble in Washington D.C., surrounded by people who love everything that comes out of his mouth, and he hasn't had the chance to see what's happening in America," Romney said.
Perhaps showing the effects of a long last week of campaigning here and in Wisconsin, Romney at one point struggled to remember the date of Pennsylvania's primary, laughing about the effects of too much time on the road.
"I want you to get out and do everything possible to get me the support I need on April 24th -- is that, what day is April 24th? Is that a Tuesday? It's not this coming Tuesday, it's the one after that. Or is it the one after that? It's the one after that." Romney said, laughing "Sometimes when you're on the road every day, you're not quite sure even what day it is, but today's Thursday, right? Yeah. So I need you to get out, and to get your friends to vote, to give me their support because we're going to take back America."