Twin sisters Ashley and Sierra DiVenere, both 12, were excited not only to get out of school early Thursday afternoon, but also because they got to see Newt Gingrich speak in their hometown of Lake in the Hills.
Their mother, Jackie DiVenere, said their family had been fans of the Republican presidential hopeful "forever."
"He's intelligent — I love his politics," she said.
The former U.S. House speaker and his wife, Callista Gingrich, made an appearance at a private hangar at the Lake in the Hills airport, 8585 Pyott Road, at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
Between 150 and 200 came out to the speech Thursday, police said. Some were strong Gingrich supporters while others simply came out of curiosity or to take in the sights as temperatures soared in the upper 70s.
"How often do you get this close to someone like him and get to hear him speak?" asked David Rudin, a pastor of Lifeline Christian Church in Algonquin.
As he has done in other appearances this week in the suburbs, Gingrich spoke about rising gas prices, lamenting a recent Obama administration request to Saudi Arabia to pump more oil.
He said during his Thursday speech that American ingenuity as well as the state of Alaska should provide enough oil resources the nation needs while also keeping down prices.
"Obama is for the highest oil prices he can get away with while still being re-elected as president," Gingrich said Thursday.
As also has been the case in past speeches, Gingrich mocked Obama's reference to research that one day could allow algae to be used to develop oil and gas, according to an Associated Press article.
"I'm thinking about getting campaign volunteers to go around to gas stations this summer with jars of algae and ask them if they want the Obama solution in their gas tanks," Gingrich said.
Earlier this week, Gingrich finished second in primaries in Mississippi and Alabama behind Rick Santorum. Frontrunner Mitt Romney finished third in both states.
The primary election losses earlier this week dealt a tough blow to the Gingrich campaign. Amid speculation over whether Gingrich would drop out of the race, The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Gingrich has vowed he will "take his fight to the party's national convention in Florida in late August."
Earlier in the day Thursday, Callista Gingrich made a stop at .
Upon her arrival, Callista Gingrich was greeted with excited whispers from children who told their friends: "that's her" and "she's here." After a tour of the school, at 4561 Princeton Lane, Lake in the Hills, a class of 4- and 5-year-old students sang Our Country ’Tis of Thee to Gingrich.
"That was the most beautiful rendition of that song," she told the class.
Gingrich read to the class from the book she authored, Sweet Land of Liberty. She was accompanied by the mascot of the main character of her book, Ellis the Elephant, and security personnel hired by the Gingrich campaign to protect the couple.
Michele Clark, owner of the Goddard School, said Callista Gingrich was the most affluent guest the day care, which has been in Lake in the Hills since 2006, ever has had. While it was stressful preparing for the visit, she was happy with the outcome.
“I’m really proud of my school. So to have the opportunity to showcase it to everyone in the community was a great experience," Clark said.
She hopes her school and students impressed upon Callista Gingrich that there are plenty of intelligent, enthusiastic and patriotic children and that early education is important to help shape our children's future.
"When it comes down to the politics and the campaign, there are so many negatives … and the future looks so bleak," Clark said. "But every day I come to this school, I’m so impressed by these children and what they are learning and discovering and their ideas and their thoughts, and I feel like our country is in good hands in the future."