Kirkwood, Missouri (CNN) – Mitt Romney did not mention either of his GOP rivals on the day of a hard-fought pair of Republican contests, but instead kept his focus on President Obama and rising fuel prices at a Missouri rally.
Polls show the GOP candidate riding a wave of momentum in Alabama and Mississippi, where voters weigh in Tuesday night and where his competitors feverishly campaigned hours before the votes.
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After adding extra events in each state over the weekend, Romney moved onto Missouri – and a general election focus – on Tuesday.
The GOP candidate offered sympathy to small business owners struggling with the cost of fuel, and blamed the president for failing to take advantage of America's oil resources in the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska's coast.
Romney also pushed back against a criticism from Obama over the Republican candidates' rhetoric on Iran. At a recent speech to a pro-Israel lobby, President Obama faulted the Republican candidates for making "loose talk" on Iran and suggested their rhetoric could help Iran's leaders by pushing up oil prices.
"Frankly, it's disappointing to have the president of the United States take a serious foreign policy issue, which is Iran, the state sponsor of terror in the world becoming nuclear, and trying to turn that into saying we're somehow responsible for high gasoline prices in this country," Romney said. "It's a real stretch, even for a guy who's gotten pretty good at making excuses."