LANSING, Mich. – During a rally of 300 people here Monday afternoon, Rick Santorum said gas prices caused the 2008 recession and he suggested President Barack Obama is intentionally causing unemployment.
“The bubble burst in housing because people couldn't pay their mortgages because we're looking at $4-a-gallon gasoline,” Santorum said. “And look at what happened – economic decline."
After the event, the former Pennsylvania senator hedged his comments a bit. "I think they're a contributing factor," he said, shaking hands with voters. "Obviously there are a lot of factors that go into it but I think that was one of them."
Santorum and former Gov. Mitt Romney have stumped across the Wolverine State trying to convince voters that they are the true conservative in the race. Now, one day before the Michigan primary, Santorum has shifted his tough talk to President Barack Obama.
"Look at any map or chart of standard of living in a country, and then look at the availability of cost of energy – the lower the energy cost, the higher the standard of living,” Santorum said. “Now we are deliberately lowering our standard of living, deliberately causing unemployment. Why would a president do that?"
His answer Monday, as it has been at all his stops in the Rust Belt states, is that Obama is putting the environment ahead of people.
"He’s a perfectly nice man," Santorum said of Obama. "He just has a very different view of America. And let’s be honest, he is doing a pretty effective job of promoting that view and passing legislation and regulations that are consistent with his view of what America should be like.”
Santorum also targeted Romney’s record and called on the crowd for their support tomorrow.
"To be attacked on television as someone who is not an authentic conservative by a Massachusetts governor is a joke," Santorum said to laughter. "Michigan, you have the opportunity to stop the joke."