Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) on Monday joined about 50 other members of Congress and endorsed Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential primary.
"What a difference four years makes when the successor to Barack Obama is a Republican and is endorsing Mitt Romney for president in 2012," Kirk said.
The junior senator described Romney as a competent manager, an economic expert and someone who can fix the state of the economy.
"I'm making this endorsement because Mitt Romney is a fiscal conservative and a national security hawk," Kirk said. "Those are two values I think are critical for the future of the United States going forward."
Kirk took some time to decide who he'd back and did so Monday not without taking cracks at Obama's first term.
"The story of the Obama administration is about economics," Kirk said, adding Obama inherited a bad economic situation that he then made worse. His administration's lasting legacy, Kirk said, is a "crushing debt" that future generations will have to repay.
Romney, who won in-person voting during the Illinois Republican Party's first online straw poll, can fix it, he said.
"As a Republican governor for a very blue state, Massachusetts, he has the record to reach across the aisle and especially fix this economy which is why I'm endorsing him today."