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Mitt Romney wades into social issues in native Michigan

By Kasie Hunt

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 21 2012 11:40 a.m. MST

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney takes a question at a town hall meeting at Eagle Manufacturing Corporation in Shelby Township, Mich., Tuesday, Mich., Feb. 21, 2012.

Gerald Herbert, Associated Press

SHELBY, Mich. — Mitt Romney is wading into the social and religious issues that have helped fuel rival Rick Santorum's rise.

At a town hall Tuesday in Michigan, the Republican presidential candidate repeatedly was asked about religious freedom, abortion, gay marriage and other topics he has largely avoided during the campaign. Romney has stayed focused on his business background instead.

Romney criticized Santorum and said Michigan's tea party voters won't support Santorum when they learn more about his record. He also said President Barack Obama has governed with "a secular agenda" that has hurt religious freedom in this country.

Romney said he will lay out detailed policies on taxes, spending and entitlement programs at a major economic speech Friday in Detroit.

Michigan's presidential primary is next Tuesday.

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