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It's class warfare, by Gens. Santorum and Romney

February 27, 2012 |  1:29 pm

Rick Santorum in Hixson, Tenn.

Looks like the Republicans were right on target with their charges about class warfare. Only thing is, they missed the mark on who's engaging in it --  it's not President Obama but Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

Santorum, campaigning in Michigan, is portraying himself as a fighter for working-class men and women against the "elites in society who think that they can manage your life better than you can."

Ouch -- that would be Romney, not Obama, he's talking about. You know, as in "upper-class Mitt."

Santorum also threw out this class warfare classic at a campaign stop over the weekend, The Times reported:

He criticized the tax plan Romney laid out earlier in the week that would reduce all income tax rates by 20%, noting that Romney said he would make the plan revenue-neutral by limiting mortgage and charitable deductions for the "top 1%."

"Hmmm, where have I heard that before?" Santorum said. "We have a Republican running for president who's campaigning as an Occupy Wall Streeter."

Now wait just a cotton pickin' minute, said Romney -- he of the political and financial golden spoons:

Romney defended his wealth -- and by implication the wealthy -- during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday."

"If people think that there is something wrong with being successful in America, then they better vote for the other guy," he said. "Because I've been extraordinarily successful and I want to use that success and that know-how to help the American people."

But Santorum seems in no hurry to silence the class-warfare guns. In fact, he's been so eager to tout his working-class roots that he’s even, uh, embellished a bit, The Times reported Monday:

"I don't come from the elite. My grandfather was a coal miner. I grew up in public housing on a VA grounds. I worked my way to the success that I had, and I'm proud of it," Santorum said Saturday in Troy, before a working-class audience gathered in the county where Romney enjoyed a privileged upbringing. Santorum didn't elaborate, but his family wasn't poor; his father, a psychologist, and his mother, a nurse, worked for the Veterans Administration -- now the Department of Veterans Affairs -- which provided them with an apartment.

Of course, it's not as if Romney isn't doing a pretty good job of shooting himself in the foot in the class warfare battle, as when he recently told a business audience in Detroit that his wife drives "a couple of Cadillacs."  (Those would be cars built by the company that Romney famously didn't want bailed out, but those nits certainly will be picked by Obama, if not Santorum.)

Still, Romney did have a classic comeback to his rival at a stop over the weekend in Troy, Mich:

"I can attest for my conservative credentials by quoting someone who endorsed me in my 2008 campaign: Sen. Santorum," Romney told the crowd, before noting that Santorum praised him on the Laura Ingraham show four years ago as "a guy who is really conservative and who we can trust."

As they say in politics: Touche!

RELATED:

The greening of faith

Santorum's true fiscal failures

How about Santorum vs. Obama, winner take all?

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS: Presidential Election 2012

-- Paul Whitefield

Photo: Rick Santorum campaigns at a tea party town hall meeting in Hixson, Tenn. Credit: John Amis / Associated Press

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