Following in the footsteps of Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum today attacked Mitt Romney for his time at Bain Capital. According to Politico, Santorum went after Romney during a Monday morning campaign event:
I heard Governor Romney here called me an economic lightweight because I wasn’t a Wall Street financier like he was. Do you really believe this country wants to elect a Wall Street financier as the president of the United States? Do you think that’s the experience that we need? Someone who’s going to take and look after as he did his friends on Wall Street and bail them out at the expense of Main Street America.
This line of attack cost Newt Gingrich dearly with his base, which didn’t like the liberal economic implication of criticizing wealth creation and management. As the Washington Post points out, Santorum himself defended Romney from Gingrich on this point back in January.
Mitt Romney’s camp quickly fired back, with Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul stating, “He has decided to join the assault on free enterprise in a way usually reserved for liberals.”
The question for Romney’s campaign, however, is whether Santorum’s attack will cut more ice than Gingrich’s did. When Gingrich attacked Romney over Bain Capital, his supporters quickly fled to Santorum. There is no place for them to flee now. The trenches have been deepened, which means that Bain Capital may do some damage where it didn’t before. Alternatively, it may damage Santorum the same way it did Gingrich, and provide Republicans an excuse to stay home or vote for Romney.