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Newt Gingrich in Rosemont: I’m staying in race

Republican Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich his wife Callistattend rally Donald E. Stephens ConventiCenter Rosemont Wednesday March 14 2012. | Richard

Republican Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista attend a rally at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont on Wednesday, March 14, 2012. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

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Updated: April 16, 2012 8:24AM

“I am staying in this race,” former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich told 100 people at the Donald Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.

Fresh from his second-place finishes in the Alabama and Mississippi GOP presidential primaries, Gingrich flew to Illinois Wednesday to try to steal this state from front-runner Mitt Romney.

If Gingrich is contemplating any exit from the race in the wake of his inability to win more than two states, he gave no hint.

Gingrich offered some of his trademark criticism of the news media as he explained why he was appearing with a car that had small cameras mounted on the hood and trunk. The MKTrac cameras scan license plates to look for stolen cars, or cars connected to kidnapping cases.

“It’s the perfect illustration of why I am staying in this race,” Gingrich said. “This is something I wanted to say for our friends in the media, who will take it back to Washington, New York and elsewhere.”

He explained how the technology worked and said, “You see this in Springfield as much as you see it in Washington: You have to have a new generation of solutions, representing 21st century conservatism, that understands that science and technology makes an enormous difference; modern management makes an enormous difference.”

Gingrich added that “obsolete bureaucracies and obsolete structures” in government are “crippling this country’s future” and need to be replaced by the kind of technology private industry uses.

Employing one of his favorite analogies, Gingrich noted FedEx and UPS can move 24 million packages every day, “but the federal government cannot find 11 million illegal immigrants even if they’re sitting still. What if we were to mail a package to every person here illegally, and we’d know where they were?”

Gingrich has two days of events scheduled in Illinois, where polls show him trailing Romney and Rick Santorum, who won the Alabama and Mississippi primaries Tuesday. After a Lincoln dinner Wednesday night, he will appear at the factory of conservative Republican businessman Jack Roeser Thursday.

As he shook hands on the way out of the rally, Gingrich ignored a question asked a few times by a reporter about whether he was disappointed in the turnout at the Rosemont event.

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