Mitt Romney told the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday he does not want to close Planned Parenthood, just strip it of federal money. Romney’s comments were the subject of Democratic attacks after he said he wanted to “get rid” of the organization.

“Planned Parenthood is a private organization. What I want to get rid of is the federal funding of Planned Parenthood,” Romney said in an interview.

With the lllinois primary Tuesday, Romney hits Rosemont on Friday morning, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie stumps for him later that day at Elmhurst College — at the same time President Barack Obama headlines a re-election fund-raiser at the Palmer House. Romney returns to Illinois on Monday and Tuesday.

Meanwhile, also on Wednesday, Romney — in New York for fund-raisers — held a telephone town hall with what his campaign said were “thousands” of likely Illinois Romney voters. On that call — and in the Sun-Times interview — he called chief rival Rick Santorum an economic “lightweight.”

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