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Romney Ribs Santorum for Finally Paying Attention to the Economy

Darren McCollester/Getty Images(ROCKFORD, Mich.) -- On the eve of the Michigan primary, Mitt Romney sought to bring the focus back to the economy, mockingly praising Sen. Rick Santorum for finally paying attention to the issue Romney has made the pillar of his own campaign from the start.

“I saw this morning that Sen. Santorum wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal.  I’m glad to see that,” Romney said, speaking at a grassroots rally in western Michigan.  “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.”

Santorum’s op-ed, titled “My Economic Freedom Agenda,” accused Romney of having a “last-minute conversion” when developing his tax plan.

“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 writes.

But Romney used the article Monday to draw attention to Santorum’s having spent much of his campaign focusing on social issues and not the economy.  In contrast, Romney has dedicated unarguably the majority of his campaign speeches to focusing on the state of the economy, holding economic roundtables and touting his business background at every turn.

"It’s time for him to really focus on the economy and for you to all say, ‘OK, if the economy is going to be the issue we focus on, who has the experience to actually get this economy going again?  Who has actually learned how to get the economy going?  Who’s spent some time in the real economy?’” Romney said Monday morning, standing on the floor of a power and data distributor’s warehouse.

“I’ve spent 25 years in business.  I understand why jobs go, why they come.  I understand what happens to corporate profit, where it goes if the government takes it,” he said.  “This is what I’ve done throughout my life.”

“Sen. Santorum is a nice guy but he’s never had a job in the private sector,” Romney said, overlooking Santorum’s stint as a Pittsburgh attorney after law school.  “He’s worked as a lobbyist and worked as an elected official and that’s fine.  But if the issue of the day is the economy, I think to create jobs it helps to have a guy as president who’s had a job, and I have.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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