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Santorum: Conservatives don’t want a CEO

- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 18, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, responding to attacks from front-runner Mitt Romney that he lacks enough private-sector experience to be president, said Sunday that conservative Republicans aren't looking for a presidential candidate who can "manage" the economy.

"Running a business is not the same as being president of the United States," Mr. Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, said in an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union."

"If Gov. Romney thinks he is the CEO of America and can run and operate the country, he doesn't understand what conservatives want," Mr. Santorum said.

"We don't want someone in Washington, D.C., to manage the economy. We want to get Washington out of our lives, to reduce these mandates, get rid of things like RomneyCare at the federal level, which we call ObamaCare, and do some things to get this economy going by believing in the private sector, something that Governor Romney showed no indication he's in favor," Mr. Santorum said.

On the issues that helped propel Republicans into power in 2010, the former Pennsylvania senator said, Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama are virtually the same.

"The same issues I'm out there campaigning on against Governor Romney are the same issues I'm going to campaign against Barack Obama on," Mr. Santorum said on ABC's "This Week."

"The government overreach in health care, and cap-and-trade, trying to control the manufacturing and energy sector of the economy ... unfortunately Governor Romney and Barack Obama are in the same place," he said.

The Republican candidates traded barbs two days ahead of the critical Illinois primary, when 54 more delegates will be up for grabs.

Asked if he would stay in the Republican race if he were mathematically eliminated, Mr. Santorum said he thinks his presidential campaign's delegate count is much higher than calculated by the media.

The former senator sharpened his criticism of President Obama as well, repeating his charge that the administration has been lax on prosecuting Internet pornographers.

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