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Santorum campaign says Mitt Romney not 'on the side of Michigan workers'

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"Who's on the side of Michigan workers?" a voiceover in the ad says. "Not Romney … he supported the Wall Street bailouts, while turning his back on Michigan workers."

During a Republican presidential debate on Wednesday, Santorum criticized Romney for not opposing the Wall Street bailouts. At the debate, Romney defended his position by saying that he did not want the economy to completely fail. 


Romney has received criticism for an op-ed he wrote in 2008 titled "Let Detroit go bankrupt" advocating for a managed bankruptcy of the Detroit autoworkers but not a government bailout. Romney has since had to defend the piece, saying that the companies would have been better off if they had gone through regular bankruptcy.

Santorum's ad, airing in Michigan, is a continuation of him attacking Romney as hypocritical for supporting bailing out Wall Street but not blue-collar workers.

The ad is likely an effort by the former Pennsylvania senator to appeal to blue-collar workers, a constituency he's said he's hoping to win over, especially in a number of key Rust Belt states.

The ad comes just ahead of Michigan's primary on Tuesday. Two new polls released Friday showed Romney with a lead in Michigan, but Santorum is hoping he can eke out a victory on what is Romney's home turf. Romney's father is a former governor of the state, and Romney grew up there. 

Both candidates have been campaigning hard there over the last week, with Santorum attacking Romney as an inauthentic conservative.

The ad does not elaborate on how Romney turned his back on Michigan's autoworkers or that  Santorum has also been strongly critical of the auto bailout.

The ad highlights Santorum's tax reform plan, which he laid out at the Detroit Economic Club roughly a week ago.

"But Rick Santorum's Made in the USA plan changes everything. It cuts taxes for Michigan manufacturers to zero, so we can bring back American jobs from overseas," the voiceover in the ad says. "It also cuts taxes for all workers, and cuts $5 trillion in spending over five years, balancing the federal budget."

In response to the ad, a Romney spokesman said Santorum's campaign was getting "desperate."

"Rick Santorum is lashing out with desperate and false attacks in order to prop up his sinking campaign.  Congressman turned Senator Santorum is the epitome of what's wrong with Washington: he admitted he 'takes one for the team' rather than standing up for principles," A Romney spokesman said in a statment. "His 'Made in the USA' slogan is also only a slogan, as he drives a German-made Audi."

—This story was updated at 12:02 p.m.