New Romney TV Ad: Santorum Is an ‘Economic Lightweight’

BY Terence Burlij  March 16, 2012 at 1:23 PM EST

Mitt Romney released a new television ad Friday in Illinois hammering Rick Santorum as an “economic lightweight.”

You can watch the ad here or below:

The new spot comes ahead of Tuesday’s primary in the Land of Lincoln, where 69 delegates are up for grabs. The latest Chicago Tribune/WGN poll showed Romney with a 35 to 31 percent lead over Santorum.

The 30-second video begins with a narrator asking the question, “Who can turn around the economy and defeat Barack Obama?” before answering, “Not Rick Santorum.”

The narrator goes on to say that “Santorum’s real weakness is the economy,” and knocks him for never having “run a business or a state.”

Romney has highlighted his business credentials throughout the campaign as evidence he is the GOP candidate best equipped to take on Mr. Obama in the general election. With Santorum continuing to pick up wins, it is clear Romney’s strategy is now two-fold: promote his own economic qualifications while accusing his rival of lacking them.

It’s an approach that Romney has used before this cycle. Campaigning in Ohio earlier this month, Romney called Santorum a “nice guy” but an “economic lightweight.” He said then that understanding the economy “takes a lifetime.”

Romney ultimately scored a narrow victory in the Buckeye State after trailing Santorum by double digits in some polls. Now the question is whether his attacks on Santorum’s economic credentials will help him hold his lead in Illinois.

A super PAC ad supporting Santorum is also airing in Illinois.

As we reported in the Morning Line, the Red White and Blue Fund announced a $310,000 buy with this ad: