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Romney refocuses on economy after tough Michigan battle

 

TOLEDO, OH -- Escaping Michigan with a pair of wins after a bruising several days of back-and-forth engagements with Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney today acknowledged his victories and moved to once again refocus his campaign on a singular issue: the economy.

Calling his wins last night in Arizona and Michigan "very good news," Romney used exit polling data to suggest his motivating issue in this election -- fixing the economy -- might return to the forefront of this campaign.

"Interestingly, the people who said the economy and jobs were their No. 1 issue, they voted for me overwhelmingly. And that's one of the reasons I'm running."

And with that, Romney launched into an event billed as a rally, but which seemed more like an economics seminar. He discussed China, energy. and tax policy. And other than one swipe at an unnamed rival who "spent his career in Washington," he ignored his GOP opponents.

Romney also hammered home a newer, simpler slogan: "For me this is all about more jobs, less debt, and smaller government," Romney said more than once, including in his closing remarks.

For the former Massachusetts governor, last night's wins may not provide much in terms of momentum here in Ohio. In an event billed as a "grassroots rally," only some 150 supporters showed up to cheer on Romney.

After the event, as Romney shook hands along the ropeline, the press corps swarmed around a different political celebrity -- Joe the Plumber, who gamely answered questions about the state of play in Ohio, and whether or not he planned to endorse a candidate (he does not) for some 15 minutes.