The two leading U.S. Republican presidential contenders attacked each
other's credentials Saturday as they campaigned for votes in key party
elections next week.
One-time venture capitalist Mitt Romney told a gathering in Michigan
that he would be a “president of principle” if he can oust President
Barack Obama, a Democrat, in November's national election. Romney
criticized former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum , currently his main
opponent for the Republican nomination, for admitting he once voted for
a Republican-backed education plan even though he disagreed with it.
Romney said such unwavering political allegiance is unacceptable.
Santorum spoke at a rally of Tea Party conservative activists elsewhere
in Michigan. He attacked Romney for sponsoring legislation when he was
governor of Massachusetts that required the state's residents to buy
health-care insurance, or pay a fine if they did not.
law Romney sponsored became the model for national health-care reforms
supported by Mr. Obama and approved by Congress – over strong opposition
from Republicans including both Santorum and Romney. Santorum said he
only supports health care that individuals control.
In the lengthy Republican nominating process, Romney and Santorum face
key votes in two states on Tuesday – in Michigan, the hub of the U.S.
auto industry, and in the southwestern state of Arizona. Opinion polls
indicate Romney has pulled ahead of Santorum in the Michigan and Arizona
Nationwide, public-opinion surveys show that at present, Republican
voters currently are nearly evenly split in their preferences for either
Romney or Santorum. Two other Republicans – former House Speaker Newt
Gingrich and House member Ron Paul from Texas – are well behind the two
In current snapshots of hypothetical November matchups, the surveys show
Mr. Obama defeating both Romney and Santorum.