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Upbeat Romney urges Illinois GOP primary voters to get to the polls

One day ahead of the Illinois primary, Mitt Romney made a plea to voters Monday to get to the ballot box.

"Vote early and vote often," the Republican presidential primary candidate joked as he spoke to about 50 people inside a '50s styled diner in Springfield, Ill. Another 100 people gathered outside.

Romney, jovial after a decisive victory Sunday in Puerto Rico against top rival Rick Santorum, said he needed voters to put the race in the bag for him.

"I need only one thing from you this morning – no,  two.  Number one, I need some pancakes," Romney said. "Number two, I need you to go vote tomorrow."

After placing his order for pancakes and a "horseshoe," Romney joked about the size of the pancakes being served, calling them as large as his win in Puerto Rico.

Campaigning by his side was Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock, who said Republicans need someone who can go "toe to toe" with President Obama and his "Chicago machine." 

Pointing to Obama's record, he told the crowd, "electability alone is not everything."

"He won alright, but he hasn't governed," Schock said. "We've got to have somebody who not only can win the election but most importantly can run our country."

Romney dubbed President Obama an "economic lightweight," and blamed him for jeopardizing the future of America's youth by increasing the national debt. "I am someone experienced in the economy," Romney said. "I am not an economic lightweight.  President Obama is. We are not going to be successful replacing an economic lightweight with another economic lightweight."

Romney said he believed the economy was "coming back," but argued the recession is "deeper than it needed to be and the recovery slower "by virtue of the president's policies."

Again, Romney accused Obama and policies implemented by his administration of causing the spike in gas prices, arguing Obama's failure to facilitate oil drilling "drives up the costs."

"We got to get the president out of his job and turn to someone who will make our country energy secure and energy independent, and I will do that," Romney said.

Illinois voters will go to the ballots Tuesday. Some polls show Romney with a near 10-point lead heading into the primary against Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.

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