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Romney targets auto bailout in battle for Michigan

By Charles Babington

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 15 2012 2:51 p.m. MST

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is wooing tea partyers in his home state of Michigan with a potentially risky strategy, blasting the auto industry bailout that many people credit with saving the state's most vital industry.

The tactic seems designed to undermine Rick Santorum's popularity with conservatives who dislike government intervention in business.

Santorum's fast rise in national polls has forced Romney to sharpen his criticisms of the former Pennsylvania senator.

A Romney loss in Michigan's Feb. 28 primary would be hugely embarrassing. His father was a top auto executive and three-term Michigan governor.

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