White House hopefuls pitch conservative activists

By Philip Elliott

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Sept. 23 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Republican presidential candidates Texas Gov. Rick Perry, left, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, share a laugh during a Fox News/Google debate Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, in Orlando, Fla.

Phelan M. Ebenhack, Pool, Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann are criticizing Texas Gov. Rick Perry over his state's in-state tuition for illegal immigrants as they court Republican presidential voters at a conservative conference.

Bachmann calls Texas' tuition plan a taxpayer-subsidized reward for those breaking the law. Romney says his own opposition isn't because he lacks a heart, as Perry has suggested. Romney says he's using both his heart and his head to address illegal immigration.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, and Bachman, a Minnesota congresswoman, are vying with Perry for the backing of conservatives who are meeting in Orlando, Fla., on Friday.

Bachmann contends President Barack Obama is so weak, he will lose re-election. She says now is the time for conservative Republicans to nominate one of their own.

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