EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire Elections

January 6, 2012

Romney: It's the economy and I'm the man to fix it

SALEM — Mitt Romney yesterday said his business experience makes him a better choice to revive the economy than Rick Santorum, while attacking President Obama over defense cuts and labor policies.

Romney was joined by former rival John McCain, the senator from Arizona who this week endorsed Romney, at a rally at the Boys and Girls Club before about 225 people. He later had an interview with The Eagle-Tribune's editorial board.

The former Massachusetts governor is coming off a narrow victory in the Iowa caucuses and is hoping the polls are accurate that show him on track for a big win in New Hampshire Tuesday.

Romney critics have demeaned his Iowa victory, saying the eight-vote difference over runner-up Santorum, former senator from Pennsylvania, points to political weakness.

"Look, I was delighted to be in the win column there by the slightest of margins. It was a come-from-behind effort," Romney said in the interview. "And I was pleased to be able to get back at the top of the pile, tied for all intents and purposes with Sen. Santorum."

Romney said the fundamental difference between him and Santorum is his 25 years in business.

"The 25 years of my career spent in the private economy helps me understand the power of the American experiment, the danger of the president's transformation of our private economy and the way forward to create jobs again," Romney said.

"Rick, like others on the platform, has spent his career in politics," Romney said. "There's nothing wrong with that. It's an important contribution. But it's a different background at a time when we have to have someone who understands how the economy works."

McCain, the GOP presidential nominee in 2008, was critical of Santorum's spending decisions in the Senate.

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