WHEELING, Ill. – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Tuesday that he would lobby to bring the 2016 Summer Olympics to Chicago if he is elected.
Romney, who is credited with rescuing the scandal-plagued 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, also said he would work to make sure there is ample federal support for security and transportation during the games.
"I'm going to work hard to make sure that's part of my budget ... that we provide the necessary support for the Olympics that will enhance the probability of winning the game bid," the former Massachusetts governor said before a fundraiser in suburban Chicago.
The Windy City is competing against international cities, including Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to land the 2016 Olympics. The International Olympic Committee will choose the host city in October 2009.
To help bring the games back to the United States, Romney said he would reach out to people he knows in the Olympic movement and attend events with IOC members to show government support for the games. Romney compared it to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's efforts backing London's successful bid for the 2012 Summer Games.
Besides amateur sports, Romney's attention also was on his White House bid.
He was in Illinois for fundraisers and to spend the night before heading Wednesday to Iowa. During a stop at the local airport, he repeated criticisms of his chief rivals, including Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Rudy Giuliani.
He called Clinton's policies "Hillary's house of horrors," accusing her of wanting a government takeover of health care and touting ideas she can't pay for. Clinton has proposed a universal health care plan.
A businessman, Romney also said the New York senator lacks experience running anything. Clinton is a former first lady.
"Given how often Governor Romney flip-flops, he'll probably endorse Senator Clinton tomorrow," Clinton campaign spokesman Blake Zeff responded by e-mail.
Romney also complained that Giuliani hurt a president's ability to control spending with a court challenge of the line-item veto when he was mayor of New York.
"Why in the world would you use your clout to try and stop the president from reining in excessive spending?" he said.
Giuliani challenged the line-item veto in 1997 because it stopped money intended for his city. He successfully argued that such power must come through a constitutional amendment, not legislation. The Supreme Court struck down the line-item veto in 1998.
A spokesman said Giuliani supports establishing a line-item veto by constitutional amendment.
"Anyone who does not understand that the Bill Clinton line-item veto was unconstitutional does not have a clear understanding of the Constitution," Jarrod Agen said in an e-mail.