Romney: 'It's time' for Santorum to focus on economy
February 27th, 2012
10:08 AM ET
3 years ago

Romney: 'It's time' for Santorum to focus on economy

Rockford, Michigan (CNN) – In an apparent critique of Rick Santorum's focus on the social issues dear to some conservative voters, Mitt Romney said Monday it was time for his chief rival in Michigan to focus on the economy.

The direct attack came a day before Michigan's hotly contested primary, and signaled Romney's campaign still viewed Santorum as a threat in the state where Romney was born.

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Speaking to an audience of roughly 250 people who did not fill up the large space on the Byrne Electric Specialist factory floor before him, the former Massachusetts governor said he was glad to see Santorum had written an opinion editorial about the economy in the morning's Wall Street Journal.

"I'm glad he recognizes this is going to be a campaign about the economy," Romney said. "It's time for him to really focus on the economy."

In the piece, Santorum proposed simplifying the tax code and cutting five trillion dollars from the federal budget over five years.

Romney, who last week unrolled more specifics on his tax policy and plan for economic renewal, said a focus on the economy could only help his campaign.

"I've spent 25 years in business," Romney said. "This is what I've done throughout my life. Senator Santorum is a nice guy but he's never had a job in the private sector."

The two GOP opponents have spent the past several days in Michigan trading barbs as they crisscrossed the state. Each has criticized the other over his conservative credentials.

Also see:

Gingrich tells evangelicals: 'We need to stand up for ourselves'

Limbaugh front and center in pro-Santorum mailer

Romney: 'I can't be perfect'

Graham, McCain predict big primary night for Romney


Filed under: 2012 • Michigan • Mitt Romney • Rick Santorum
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    After listening to quite enough of Rich Santorum's take on various social issues I find myself in the unfortunate position of agreeing with Sarah Palin. Rick Santorum truly is a knuckle-dragging neandrethal,

    February 27, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  2. Larry L

    I'd like to hear both of them give very specific information on their plan for Medicare and Social Security. I'd like their answer to be detailed enough for me to visualize the merits or weaknesses of the plans.

    February 27, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  3. Emmy Skaddittle

    Keep talking mr 1%

    February 27, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    It is time for Mittens to stop the money laundering with his off shore accounts, stop the tax evasion, stop creating jobs in China, stop lying about the auto bailout, stop lying about women's rights, stop lying about social security, and stop attacking American workers.

    February 27, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    If republicans only want a candidate who can beat Obama, but has nothing to offer our country, they should draft Kobe Bryant, since he knows nothing about running a country either, but could beat the president in basketball.

    February 27, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. Publius Novus

    Romney keeps telling us that his 25 years in the private sector qualify him to be president. But he truly does not understand the national economy. In his much-touted turnarounds of private sector companies, Romney, like all private businessmen, relied heavily upon thrift. Cuts to numbers of employees, overhead, and the lavish executive benefits in most failing companies usually work to turn companies around. Cost cutting goes directly to the bottom line like nothing else. But that is not true for the national economy. Cuts to government spending may improve the government's bottom line in the short term, but it has a seriously depressive effect on the national economy. Cuts in government spending, of the magnitude suggested by Romney, would immediately reverse the current slow growth in GDP and cause a double-dip recession. Just look at what happened to Britain with Cameron's budget cuts. Conservatives keep talking about imposing austerity similar to that imposed in Britain and Europe. Well, let's take a look at Britain and Europe. On Friday, the EC announced that Europe slipped into negative growth last month. That is not going to get them out of their budget problems. Nor would it get the U.S. out of its budget problems. As I write, Romney does not understand the national economy–or if he does, he is not being honest about it.

    February 27, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  7. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    I wonder why Willard can't seem to get huge audiences attending his campaign events in his home state. Since he likes firing people, he should start with his campaign staff.

    February 27, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  8. Richardpr

    This should have been done long ago and also, Romney should not have stepped into the social mine field. Hope the campaign moves to the real issues at least now. Try to rebuild the country and get us a job and then we will have time to think on religion and social issues... If a person comes to a choice of choosing to vote for getting a decent job vs to vote for getting forced morality, unless he is insane, he will choose a decent job...

    February 27, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  9. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    His concentration on Social Issues and lack of concentration may win him the Nomination (especially considering the poor numbers among primary/caucus voters), but this same concentration will lose the election. Independent's do not want to vote for someone who thinks the Inquisition is a good start to correct societal ills. Nor do they want someone who's current economic plan will result in greater deficits. Nominate Rick Santorum and you practically guarantee President Obama will be a shoo-in for four more years. Hopefully this is followed by Justice Scalia's apoplectic fit resulting in his replacement by a liberal-to-moderate justice. And just think, folks. In four years, Chelsea Clinton will be 36 years old. In case none of you have read the requirements for President, she will have reached the age of eligibility. Scary, huh?

    February 27, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    A history of Bush gasoline prices: In May 2007, gasoline was $3.07; in Jan. 2008, gas was at $3.05 a gallon; April 2008, gas was at $3.50 a gallon; June 2008 saw it over $4 a gallon, in July 2008, gasoline was $4.11 a gallon.

    February 27, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. ThinkAgain

    No, all we need to do is convert to Catholicism and everything will be hunky-dorey!

    February 27, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. Four and The Door

    The direct attack came a day before Michigan's hotly contested primary, and signaled Romney's campaign still viewed Santorum as a threat in the state where Romney was born.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    This is hardly a " direct attack". It is all about the issues. Jobs, the economy and the national debt are the big issues. I like Romney's focus on these issues. It is what most Americans want to see capability on. We don't have it with Obama and it has cost us all. Too bad the 2008 election wasn't more about the real issues. We may not be in this mess.

    February 27, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  13. ThinkAgain

    All Mittens knows how to do is break up companies. He'd do the same with the American economy, if he half a chance.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    February 27, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  14. Indy

    "I've spent 25 years in business," Romney said. Santorum has spent 25 years in Government and therefore is more experienced for the Whitehouse. Hard to believe these are suppose to be the top two leaders in the Republican party,neither can take the Whitehouse if the majority has anything to say about it, and they surely do !

    February 27, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  15. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Romney is out of touch on a lot of things. Speaking about the main issue of the economy is true since most people are thinking about it. The problem for Romney is that Santorum doesn't do a lot of speaking on it; doesn't seem to because he mostly speaks about the social issues that he is well known for at this point. Romney's issue is that he can't make himself sound like an average guy. There are too many ways that he sounds like a pompus wealthy man.

    February 27, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  16. Paul1st

    C'mon Mitt. You don't get to dictate the rules of the game. You are in a contest to win the GOP primary. You are not in the general election. Yes, the economy counts heavily in the general election, but you don't get to play in that game without winning your party's nomination. So, suck it up and be enthusiastic about social issues. If you really want to usurp Santorum momentum, you can convert to Catholicism.

    February 27, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. Alger Dave

    Santorum has an economic plan, and it didn't just do a 180 like Romney's did! See the article today on CNN about Romney's give away to the rich and old (not my words, but in the article). Santorum has a plan and you can see it at his website. Romney had a plan too, and a reasonably well thought out one, until the last few days. As the article says (and I encourage you to read it!), Romney gave away the farm in a bold pandering move in Detroit a few days ago. Now everyone except the poor and needy (the very people the government should be looking out for first) will stay fat, dumb and happy. Oh, and he'll cut the deficit too. Except no one in their right mind who crunches the numbers believes he can do all of this. What we need is honest dialogue and shared sacrifice. That's hard to talk about in an election, so Romney doesn't. It's easier to lie to us, so Romney does that. And through it all, if we're honest with ourselves, it proves Romney is a chameleon. He'll do or say whatever it takes to win, and we really don't know what he'll do in office. All we have to point to is his time as governor in MA, and from that he looks like a liberal, truth be told. So....at least Santorum is who he is, and will likely do (or try to do) what he says he'll do. We need a leader with integrity, and Romney doesn't appear to have any left.

    February 27, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. Thomas

    A couple of Cadillacs.

    You ask the question , I'll answer them the way I want .

    I like Trees in Michigan , there the right hight .

    Five sons who avoided military service in a time of war.

    Corporations are people.

    February 27, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. Anonymous

    This has the stench of Rove all over it: attach an opponent on your own weaknesses. Rmoney has no "strength" on economic, as he is far more elitist and out of touch than Santorum. And he certainly has no advantage on substance, as both of their tax plans blow up the deficit while rewarding the filthy rich with even more tax breaks, on contrast with President Obama's plan which actually reduces the deficit. This is just more political theater as Rove's Plan to Elect the Next Neocon Robot lurches from one obstacle to the next and as more and more rank and file GOBP voters are disgusted by the thought of Rove ramming another GWB down their throats.

    February 27, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  20. judy

    pallidine I agree with you totally. The repos are not presenting us with a candidate that has a clue how to run this country . all they want is to beat President Obama. And they have made some really bad choices. None of the repo candidates have this countrys interest at heart and none have any idea how to govern at the presidential level. It is pretty obvious when they speak. In fact it is terrorfieng when you hear their solutionWe need to work hard to see that they don't end up representing this country Obama 2012s end up wanting to go to war.

    February 27, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  21. nothing new here

    For once, I agree with Romney on something he has said.
    It IS about the economy!!!!!
    However, Romney has done his campaign a BIG disservice by putting soooooo much attention on the social as well. These 2 candidates are trying too hard to out-conservative each other, and they are alienation a lot of people in the process.

    February 27, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  22. Four and The Door

    ThinkAgain
    All Mittens knows how to do is break up companies. He'd do the same with the American economy, if he half a chance.
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________
    You are almost correct. Mitt Romney has been an expert at fixing broken companies. These are companies that were poorly run and on their way to bankruptcy before Bain Capital invested money and expertise in to try and fix. They were very successful at saving companies and jobs. This is difficult work and requires very capable, focused people to be good at. The success says a great deal about how intelligent, capable and effective a manager Mitt Romney is. Bain Capital is a very positive success story for him.

    America would be fortunate to have Mitt Romney manage the federal government. We do need his expertise, intelligence and management capability and we need it quickly. Fortunate for us he is interested in the job. Romney 2012!

    February 27, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  23. honeybe

    According to the report by Budget Watch, a project of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget — former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and former House speaker Newt Gingrich would do the most damage to the nation’s finances, offering tax and spending policies likely to require trillions of dollars in fresh borrowing. Until the campaign offers a more specific plan, Budget Watch analysts said Romney’s entire framework would add about $2.6 trillion to the debt by 2021. The lone exception is Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who would pair a big reduction in tax rates with even bigger cuts in government services, slicing about $2 trillion from future borrowing. (Washington Post)
    __________________
    Ron Paul is the only one that has any plan that will reduce the deficit. All the others will add to it. We can't afford anyone BUT Ron Paul.

    February 27, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |