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Romney focuses on ecnonomy ahead of key contests

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mitt Romney is turning his campaign message back to the economy as he tries to fend off Republican presidential rival Rick Santorum in crucial Michigan and Arizona primaries next week. 

The former Massachusetts governor courted conservative tea party voters in Michigan -- where he was born and saw his father become governor -- Thursday night with an indictment of President Obama, calling him "comfortable living with trillion-dollar deficits." A day earlier in Arizona, Romney called for a 20 percent cut in personal income tax rates, saying it would help the economy grow and create jobs. 

Next up is a speech before the Detroit Economic Club, in an automotive city that is struggling and a state where unemployment stood at 9.3 percent in December. 

Obama has been most vulnerable on the economy as the general election approaches in November, but signs are growing that the recovery from the Great Recession is picking up speed. 

The ultraconservative Santorum has switched the campaign narrative recently to focus on social issues, and he risen in the polls to a near tie for the Republican lead. 

But Romney's campaign rests on a foundation of economic know-how, and the multimillionaire former venture capitalist continues to present himself as a lifelong businessman with the skills to end to the worst recession in decades. 

Economy is a safer issue for Romney, as he still faces skepticism from more conservative Republicans over his past, more moderate positions on sensitive social issues such as abortion. 

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