Romney hits Santorum, says his 'team' is people of United States

Mitt Romney slammed Rick Santorum Thursday for his taking "one for the team" remark in Wednesday night's contentious GOP debate. 

His attacks come as he and Santorum battle it out for primary wins in Arizona and Michigan next Tuesday. Neither candidate appeared to come out ahead after Wednesday's debate, the final meeting before next week's contests and the Super Tuesday races on March 6.

Polls show Romney leading in Arizona, but in Michigan the two men are in a virtual tie.

ADVERTISEMENT
In the debate, Santorum repeatedly sought to explain why he had voted for legislation he did not agree with as a senator in Pennsylvania, including raising the federal debt ceiling and backing then-President George W. Bush's signature education law, No Child Left Behind.

"Sometimes you take one for the team, for the leader, and I made a mistake. You know, politics is a team sport, folks," he said.

Romney pounded on that remark.

"He talked about this as being taking one for the team. I wonder which team he was taking it for," the former Massachusetts governor said to laughs in a speech Thursday morning in Phoenix.

"I don't know that I've ever seen a politician explain in so many ways why it was that he voted against his principles," he continued. "I can tell you one thing: If I'm president of the United States I will abide by my principles and my team will be the people of the United States of America."

Romney also hit Santorum for voting to raise the debt ceiling five times while he was in Congress, backing certain earmarks, and voting against repealing a pro-union law known as Davis-Bacon.

While he ripped Santorum, much of Romney's speech was aimed at President Obama and unions, accusing the president of "crony capitalism."

Romney said Obama had "brush[ed] aside the principles of free enterprise and fair play and instead tilt[ed] the entire playing field in our economy towards the people who financed his campaign."

"That kind of crony capitalism we have not seen in this country to the extent we've seen in this administration, I don't think, in history."

Romney ripped Obama's relationship with the unions, and said unions should not be able to use their members' dues on political campaigning. He also outlined other policy proposals anathema to unions.

"One of the first things I will do, actually on day one, is I will end the government's favoritism towards unions and contracting on federal projects," he said to applause from the Associated Builders and Contractors members. "I will fight to repeal Davis-Bacon ... I will fight for right-to-work laws."