Romney hits Santorum as 'economic lightweight' in Illinois ad

Mitt Romney’s campaign ridicules Rick Santorum as an "economic lightweight" in a new ad airing in Illinois, the next state on the GOP nominating calendar.

The television ad says Santorum's "real weakness is the economy" while juxtaposing an image of him with that of President Obama.

"Who can turn around the economy and defeat Barack Obama? Not Rick Santorum," a voiceover says.

In contrast, the ad says, Romney has the "boldest GOP agenda since [President] Reagan."

Romney is focusing his messaging efforts on jobs and the economy ahead of Tuesday’s Illinois primary in a bid to win a large share of the state’s 69 delegates.

Polling in Illinois has been scant, but a Fox-Chicago News-We Ask America survey released Friday showed Romney in the lead with 37 percent, followed by Rick Santorum at 31 percent, Newt Gingrich at 14 percent and Ron Paul at 8 percent.

Romney leads the GOP field in delegates, but a strong showing in Illinois — Obama’s home state — could help him make the case that he’s the strongest candidate for the general election.

Meanwhile, a pro-Santorum super-PAC, the Red, White and Blue Fund, is attacking Romney on his record on job creation as governor of Massachusetts and the implementation of a Massachusetts healthcare reform law — which Romney's opponents have called virtually identical to the Obama administration's national healthcare reform legislation.

More in News

Santorum’s son was charged with DWI in July

Read more »