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"Economic lightweight" vs the "Wall Street financier" in Illinois

posted 19 Mar 2012, 14:12 by Mpelembe   [ updated 19 Mar 2012, 14:14 ]

A day before Illinois' presidential primary election, Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum engage in a war of words across the state in a final push for votes.

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES (MARCH 19, 2012) (NBC) - Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum made a final push for votes in Illinois on Monday (March 19).

The heartland state of Illinois holds the next state-by-state test Tuesday (March 20) in the party's presidential nominating contest.

A new poll by Public Policy Polling showed Romney with a sizable lead in the state, with 45 percent of the vote over rival Santorum's 30 percent.

The race for the Republican nomination has become increasingly heated as Romney and Santorum trade barbs over each others' financial experience.

Romney called Santorum an "economic lightweight" while Santorum called attention to Romney's wealth.

"I heard Governor Romney here call me an economic lightweight because I wasn't a Wall Street financier like he was," Santorum told a crowd in Rockford, Illinois. "You really believe this country wants to elect a Wall Street financier as a president of the United States? You think that's the kind of experience we need?"

At an earlier stop at a Springfield diner, Romney continued his third straight day of campaigning in Illinois.

He greeted customers and joked that the pancakes were about as large as his victory margin in Puerto Rico's Sunday primary.

Romney said he believed "the economy is coming back," but argued that Obama's policies worsened the depth and length of the recession.

"I believe the economy is coming back, by the way. We'll see what happens. It's had ups and downs. I think it's finally coming back. The economy always comes back after a recession, of course. There's never been one that we didn't recover from. The problem is this one has been deeper than it needed to be and a slower recovery than it should have been, by virtue of the policies of this president. Almost everything he's done has made it harder for this economy to recover," he said.