The former Pennsylvania senator greeted parishioners Friday at a packed Catholic Church fish-fry dinner in Walled Lake, Mich., and then spoke for 55 minutes to a small crowd in the Detroit suburb of Lincoln Park.
Santorum said Romney's plan to limit tax deductions for charitable gifts by high-income people would hurt churches and civic groups. He called for sharp cuts in federal spending and regulations, and new restrictions on government entitlement programs that he said make Americans dependent on government. These were parts of his "economic freedom agenda," which he plans to enact in his first 100 days in office.
By contrast, Romney rarely strays from economic issues as he presses his case that as a former businessman he is best equipped to help restore an economy still recovering from the worst recession in decades.
"I not only think I have the best chance. I think I have the only chance" of defeating Obama, Romney told his midday audience, although he quickly added with a nervous-sounding laugh, "Maybe I'm overstating it a bit."
While aides earlier had touted the speech as a major economic address, Romney seemed to pre-empt himself earlier in the week when he called for across-the-board income tax cuts of 20 percent to help the economy grow and begin creating jobs in large numbers.
He repeated that proposal, along with his calls to cut the corporate income tax rate and abolish the estate tax.
On Medicare, Romney also supports changing the program to give beneficiaries a choice between the traditional setup and one in which the government provides them with a monthly payment that can be used to purchase private coverage.
"With these commonsense changes, we will have fixed our balance sheet," Romney said. "Instead of $62 trillion in unfunded commitments hanging over America's future, we'll have a balance sheet that is actually in balance."
In all there are 30 Republican National Convention delegates at stake in Michigan next week, 29 in Arizona.
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