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Santorum: Attacks on Romney are attacks on capitalism

 

WEST COLUMBIA, SC -- Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum on Wednesday hit his Republican rivals for their critiques of frontrunner Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital, calling their criticisms of the former Massachusetts governor an attack on capitalism. 

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have used Romney's time at the investment firm to portray him as a business tycoon who fired scores of workers for his own profit.  But Santorum likened such attacks to what he called the anti-capitalism rhetoric President Obama has used to attack America's most financially successful corporate leaders.  Rhetoric, Santorum says, that has stalled the economy and put the country's free market system into question.

"It’s this hostile rhetoric, which unfortunately - I don't want to stand here and be a defender of Mitt Romney, but unfortunately even some in our party now, even some running for president will engage in with respect to capitalism," Santorum said to a town hall of nearly 200 people. "It is bad enough for Barack Obama to blame folks in business for causing problems in this country. It’s one other thing for Republicans to join him."

While others seeking the GOP nomination see Romney's time at Bain and recent comments that he enjoys the ability to fire people as an opening for political attacks, the former Pennsylvania senator has not piled on.  Even when prodded by reporters to take a shot, Santorum instead has only said he believes in the economic model that allows people to be successful.

However, that does not mean Santorum has shied away from taking jabs at Romney.  The candidate trying to portray himself as the only true conservative in the race has elected to use Romney's record as a governor, not a businessman, to go on the offensive.

"The other side is going to look at my record and look at Gov. Romney's record on health care and say, 'You want to attack me on health care?  Who are you to attack me on something that I used your plan to build my health care method?'" said Santorum.  "He's taking away the biggest issue that we have in this election."

The former Pennsylvania senator arrived in South Carolina on Wednesday coming off a fifth place finish in the New Hampshire primary, where he told those here not to look at his ultimate finish, but how dramatically he improved in his poll numbers since last month.