Santorum: Romney just a "Wall Street financier" with a lousy jobs record

Rick Santorum gives a speech for supporters gathered during a "Rally for Rick" at Atlantic Aviation on March 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

ROCKFORD, Ill. - Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum tore into Mitt Romney's economic record Monday, painting him as a Wall Street crony with a poor record of job creation as governor.

"I heard Gov. Romney here called me an economic lightweight because I wasn't a Wall Street financier like he was. Do you really believe this country wants to elect a Wall Street financier as the president of the United States? Do you think that's the kind of experience that we need?" he asked several hundred people who gathered to hear him speak here Monday morning.

Santorum said Romney was looking after "his friends on Wall Street" by supporting the 2008 bank bailout, then moved on to Romney's job creation record as governor of Massachusetts.

"It wasn't the worst. It was third from the worst. Forty-seven out of 50," Santorum said. "You hear him talk about 'oh I created jobs in the private sector' but he didn't do anything in Massachusetts to create an environment for jobs. Why? Because he exploded the size and scale of government in Massachusetts. Something exactly the opposite of what this country needs right now."

Santorum hardly provided a strong defense of his own economic abilities, however. He spoke of his work on a technology company that failed after three years. "One of the things I found in life is you learn a lot more from your failures than you do from your successes," Santorum said.

Romney's camp responded by reiterating its attack on Santorum. "Senator Santorum ought to scare every conservative when it comes to his economic record. He's an economic lightweight. We should know that we're not going to turn around this economy by replacing one former senator with zero job-creating experience with another senator with zero job-creating experience," said spokeswoman Andrea Saul.

  • Rebecca Kaplan On Twitter»

    Rebecca Kaplan covers the 2012 presidential campaign for CBS News and National Journal.

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