The Republican presidential primary campaign got a kick start in Wisconsin Thursday when front-runner Mitt Romney worked the radio airwaves while his wife, Ann, made the rounds at Miss Katie's Diner in Milwaukee.
The April 3 primary could prove decisive as Romney tries to fend off a challenge from Rick Santorum, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania.
Santorum is due to arrive in Wisconsin on Saturday, speaking in Milwaukee to an Americans for Prosperity "Saving the American Dream Summit." He plans visits to Sheboygan and Bellevue on Saturday, and Fond du Lac and Racine on Sunday.
Reaching out to conservative radio listeners during a seven-minute appearance Thursday on the Charlie Sykes show on WTMJ-AM (620), Romney vowed to "get rid" of "Obamacare," pushed for oil drilling, and backed Rep. Paul Ryan's latest budget initiative.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, was also asked about the prospects of choosing either Ryan or Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) as a vice presidential running mate.
"You know, both the people you mention and probably 10 or 12 others are among those who are leading lights in the Republican Party who could be part of a national ticket," Romney said. "I have not given any thought yet to whom a vice presidential running mate might be. I hope I get the nomination and get that privilege."
Romney added: "Look, Paul Ryan is one of the brilliant visionaries in our party. Marco Rubio has demonstrated the same kind of capacity . . . There's a long list of people who I'm sure anyone would be wise to consider."
On Wednesday, during an appearance with Mark Belling on WISN-AM (1130), Romney said he intended to win the Wisconsin primary.
"I think if Wisconsin gets behind me and I'm successful in carrying my message across the state, that will go a long way to bringing our party to a conclusion and selecting a nominee," Romney said.
Meanwhile, Ann Romney spoke Thursday with a group of her husband's backers packed inside Miss Katie's Diner, 1900 W. Clybourn St. She said she had recently spoken with former first lady Barbara Bush.
Barbara Bush told Ann Romney that the upcoming presidential election was the most important election in her lifetime. And that's coming from a woman whose husband is a former president, and a son who is a former president.
Campaigning is hard, Ann Romney said, but "The other thing I can't forget is that America is worth the fight, and I love this country."
Ann Romney said her husband was the "right person at the right time," and someone who had the right skill set for the nation's economic situation.
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