Santorum responds to Romney’s attacks on economic experience

Republican presidential hopeful, Rick Santorum was in the Quad City area one day ahead of the Illinois primary.

His first stop of the day was in Dixon, where News 8’s Rebecca Smith asked him about his plans for the economy, something rival Mitt Romney has attacked him on repeatedly.

Since Dixon, IL was the boyhood home of Ronald Reagan, the theme of the day was to compare Reagan’s presidency to Rick Santorum’s plan if he is to become President.

“Ronald Reagan had the courage to go out and do what our founders were willing to do- speak truth,” said Santorum.

The issue of trust has been a lingering cloud over rival Mitt Romney’s campaign- a fact that wasn’t lost on Santorum supporters at the Dixon rally.

“I wouldn’t trust Mitt Romney as far as I can throw him,” said Debbie Trouph, from Champaign.

“We love him because he’s pro-life, pro-family and pro-freedom and he’s firm on the issues, unlike Mitt Romney, who’s flip-flopped,” said Patricia Weber, from St. Charles.

Santorum didn’t shy away from taking a jab or two at his opponent, who has a six-point-lead over him in Illinois, according to the latest numbers from Real Clear Politics.

I asked the former Pennsylvania Senator about his staying-power in the race.

Early on, he was considered a dark-horse candidate.

“Rebecca says: Mr. Santorum, what’s your secret to staying in the race this long? Santorum says: We have a strong message. The Republican Party wants to nominate a conservative. We’re a conservative party and Mitt Romney’s not.”

I asked Santorum how he plans to turn around the economy.

“We put together a plan,” he said. “The Wall Street Journal called it supply-side economics for the working man and that’s what it’s going to be- great jobs for everybody.”

But, Romney’s recent attack ads take square aim at Santorum’s perceived inexperience.

Some supporters at Monday’s rally didn’t know much about Santorum’s economic plan, but they still had their opinion.

“I don’t think he’d be any worse than our present Administration,” said Edward VonHolten, from Rock Falls.

Santorum also made stops in Moline and Peoria Monday, but will stay in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, the day of the Illinois primary.

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