Chicago Seems To Be Center Of Attention At GOP Convention In Tampa

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Republican National Convention got off to a rousing start on Tuesday, with Ann Romney speaking from her heart about her husband, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaking from his gut.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports, although the GOP’s big celebration was taking place in Tampa, it seemed at times Chicago was the center of the political universe.

It started with Christie, Tuesday night’s convention keynote speaker, who tried to poach Illinois jobs after lawmakers and the governor approved a major income tax hike in January 2011.

“The president is nothing more than a Chicago ward politician,” Christie said in a speech to California delegates before the main event. “We’ve had enough of Chicago ward politics in the Oval Office.”

Even someone we might call a native son, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus – who grew up in Kenosha, Wis. – piled on.

“America needs a turnaround. Specifically, we need Barack Obama to turn around, and go back to Chicago,” Priebus said.

You’d think there’d be a measure of pride in having a president from Illinois, but Illinois Republicans were piling on, when casting their votes for Mitt Romney.

“We’re the state of the soon-to-be immediate past President of the United States,” Rutherford said. “Illinois cats 69 votes unanimously for Mitt Romney to be the President of the United States.”

One lifelong Chicagoan on the convention floor on Tuesday, Ron Gidwitz – who ran for governor in 2006 – said bashing Chicago “seems to become a national pastime.”

“You know, once upon a time, we were the home of Michael Jordan, and before that we were the home of Al Capone. … Now, we’re the home of Barack Obama,” he said.

Asked if that’s a good thing, Gidwitz said, “if he comes back to it, absolutely.”

With even some of Chicago’s own taking shots like that, a Chicagoan could develop a complex hanging out at the GOP convention, but – let’s face it – despite Christie’s rousing speech and Ann Romney’s heartfelt appeal, Republicans aren’t really seeking or expecting many votes in Obama’s hometown.

More from Jay Levine
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