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Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, center, gets lunch at a Culver's restaurant in Johnson Creek, Wis., Sunday, April 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Romney seeks Wisconsin win to knock Santorum from race
First Published Apr 02 2012 12:04 pm • Last Updated Apr 02 2012 12:39 pm

Mitt Romney, a multi-millionaire who’s struggled to connect his lifestyle with middle-class voters, is accusing President Barack Obama of being out of touch with average Americans.

"This president is going to be campaigning, saying that he’s doing a great job," Romney told voters Sunday night in Middleton, Wis. "He’s so detached from what’s happening in America."

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The criticism of Obama came as Romney is showing increased confidence about winning the Republican presidential nomination and taking on the president in the November general election.

Democrats have raised questions about Romney’s distance from the issues confronting many Americans, citing as one example his $12 million renovation of a San Diego beach home that includes an elevator for his cars.

Vice President Joe Biden said on CBS "Face the Nation" yesterday the former Massachusetts governor "seems not to understand" the struggles of middle-class Americans. "Governor Romney’s a little out of touch," he said.

Swing states poll

Obama holds a 51 percent to 42 percent lead over Romney in a dozen states expected to be the closest in the November general election, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll published Monday. It also found Romney has lost support among women during the primaries, giving Obama an 18-percentage-point advantage among female voters combined in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Romney, who helped form the private-equity firm Bain Capital LLC in Boston, has estimated his wealth to be as much as $250 million on financial disclosure statements. He earned $21.6 million in 2010, mostly from investments, according to tax returns he released in late January.

To counter the notion that he is removed from average Americans, Romney has started talking more about the struggles of those he has met on the campaign trail. He also has taken to defending his personal wealth on the stump, charging Democrats with creating a society that "attacks success."


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At his side much of yesterday was U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who has endorsed Romney and is often mentioned in media reports as a possible running mate.

‘Decent man’

"This man understands where we are. This man is a decent man," Ryan said in Middleton, adding that Romney was born in another Midwestern state -- Michigan -- not in Massachusetts.

Romney’s next test comes Tuesday in a trio of primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C. His main challenger, Rick Santorum, is seeking to regain momentum as party leaders push to bring a swift conclusion to the nominating contest.

Santorum sought to counter Romney’s message in appearances amid northern Wisconsin’s dairy farms. He boasted of his support from working-class voters, those without college educations or earning less than $100,000, and rural Republicans.

"We’re going to do well in the rural counties of this state," Santorum said yesterday. "The question is: are those areas going to show up in big numbers? Are they going to overwhelm the cities?"

Plea for turnout

Speaking today in rural Shawano, Santorum begged those voters to head to the polls Tuesday.

"When people, conservatives get excited, particularly the rural areas, and turn out to vote, you can win," he told several dozen voters. "Get that turnout up and conservatives can get excited, so I’m asking you over the next 24 hours to join me."

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