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Obama Campaign Starts to Focus on Santorum’s Record

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign is now focusing on former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum’s record in addition to Mitt Romney’s, marking a shift for a campaign that has directed most of its fire on the former Massachusetts governor.

“Governor Mitt Romney and Senator Rick Santorum claim they will champion spending cuts deep enough to cut taxes and balance the budget,” James Kvaal, the campaign’s policy director, said in a memo e-mailed to reporters. “In fact, they have both proposed irresponsible and reckless tax plans that would drive up the deficit by trillions of dollars, while their claims to balance the budget through spending cuts are completely unrealistic.”

While Romney and Santorum have both won Republican presidential nominating contests in four states, the Obama campaign had been directing most of its criticism at Romney. A national Gallup daily tracking poll of 1,194 registered Republican voters released today shows Santorum leading Romney by 10 percentage points, 36 percent to 26 percent. The margin of error of the poll, covering Feb. 15-19, is plus or minus four percentage points.

After a morning stop in Ohio, Santorum spent much of yesterday in the western part of Michigan, which along with Arizona holds a primary on Feb. 28. Romney, who was born and raised in Michigan, campaigned in Ohio ahead of its March 6 contest, saying he would present the best alternative to Obama.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hans Nichols in Washington at hnichols2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

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