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‘Lightweight’ Rick Santorum Mocks Mitt Romney as a ‘Wall Street Financier’

Steve Pope/Getty Images(ROCKFORD, Ill.) -- Rick Santorum mocked Mitt Romney on Monday as a “Wall Street financier” in response to the former Massachusetts governor’s suggestion that Santorum is an “economic lightweight.”

“I heard Governor 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?” Santorum asked at a rally at the Venetian Club. “Someone who’s going to take and look after as he did his friends on Wall Street and bail them out at the expense of main street America?”

Santorum then slammed Romney for his record on job creation compared to the rest of the nation while he served as governor of Massachusetts.

“Do you think we want someone who, as governor of Massachusetts, had a job creation record; it wasn’t the worst. It was third from the worst: 47 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 expounded on his own experience in the private sector that included helping build a small technology company, which ultimately failed.

“I may have less than the experience in Wall Street that Governor Romney does, but my experience in the private sector was helping to manage a small technology company after I left the United States Senate,” Santorum said. “I worked three years on it. It didn’t succeed. We fought through a very tough economic time but you know what? It was a great experience to me. One of the things I found in life is you learn a lot more from your failures than you do from your successes.”

But as he hit Romney for being a “Wall Street financier,” he also repeated his argument that the main issue in this election won’t be the economy.

“The issue in this race is not the economy,” Santorum said. “The reason the economy is an issue in this race is because the federal government is oppressing its people and taking away your freedom and the economy is suffering as a result.”

While he drilled into Romney and President Obama, Santorum touted his wins throughout the primary season, arguing that he was able to overcome negative attacks and show voters he can provide the greatest contrast to the president.

“People in 10 states have figured out, in spite of all the negative ads, pounding and pounding away at the mostly minutia, you know, in a public record, that we need someone to present a clear contrast with this president,” he said. “Someone who can go out and paint a hopeful and optimistic vision, someone how believes in peace through strength, strong national defense, not cutting and ripping it apart like this president. Someone who believes in the American people and their ability to provide for themselves, to be able to govern their own health care and develop energy safely.”

Santorum criticized the president for saying that carbon dioxide is a toxin, joking that Obama might take his argument one step further.

“I’m not surprised, the next thing the president will do is say hold your breath,” he said. ”I don’t want you to pollute because you breathe out CO2. That would be the real quick and easy solution, I guess. Get rid of all of us.”

As he greeted voters after the event, a reporter asked about his chances in the Illinois Primary Tuesday and whether he thinks he can win.

“We expect to do very, very well,” the former Pennsylvania senator said. “We certainly hope to win. That’s what we’re here for.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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