Romney to Santorum: It's about time you focused on the economy

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum AP Photo

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum
Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum
AP Photo

ROCKFORD, Mich. -- When Rick Santorum published an op-ed on the economy Monday in the Wall Street Journal, Mitt Romney treated it as an opportunity to tweak him for his recent focus on cultural and social issues.

"He wrote a piece in there about the economy and tax policy and regulatory policy. I'm glad he recognizes this is going to be a campaign about the economy," Romney told about 300 people at a rally here the day before the Michigan primary. "It's time for him to really focus on the economy and for you to all say, okay if the economy is going to be the issue we focus on, who has the experience to actually get this economy going again?"

Romney, a former venture capitalist CEO and former Massachusetts governor, answered his own question. He said voters would choose him due to his business background. "Sen. Santorum is a nice guy but he's never had a job in the private sector," he said of the former Pennsylvania congressman and senator.

Santorum's op-ed listed 10 economic initiatives which he called "pro-growth and pro-family," and which he said he would implement during his first 100 days in office. It also said Romney followed Santorum's lead on lowering individual and corporate taxes and accused him of raising taxes and fees as governor of Massachusetts.

"Meanwhile, my opponent in the Republican primaries, Mitt Romney, had a last-minute conversion. Attempting to distract from his record of tax and fee increases as governor of Massachusetts, poor job creation, and aggressive pursuit of earmarks, he now says he wants to follow my lead and lower individual as well as corporate marginal tax rates," Santorum wrote.

Just moments after Romney's comments, Santorum was asked for response by reporters in Livonia.

"Tell him to watch my speech," he said. It was unclear which speech he meant, but he had just spoken at length about his tax and manufacturing policies to the Livonia and Farmington Chambers of Commerce.

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