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Mitt Romney accuses Rick Santorum of ‘dirty trick’ robocall

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LIVONIA, Mich. — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday accused his chief rival, Rick Santorum, of orchestrating “a terrible dirty trick” by trying to influence Michigan’s Republican primary with a robocall urging Democrats to vote.

Joe Raedle

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Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign event at the Royal Oak Music Theatre on Feb. 27, 2012 in Royal Oak, Mich.

A Santorum campaign spokesman acknowledged Monday that the former Pennsylvania senator’s campaign targeted Democrats to urge them to vote in the GOP primary, which is open to all registered voters, with a robocall highlighting Romney’s opposition to the federal bailout of General Motors.

“It’s a dirty trick,” Romney said on “Fox and Friends” Tuesday morning. “It’s outrageous to see Rick Santorum team up with the Obama people and go out after union labor in Detroit and try to get them to vote against me…I know why Obama doesn’t want me to face him, but I just think it’s outrageous and disgusting, a terrible dirty trick.”

Romney once himself participated in a Democratic primary as what he called a tactical move to meddle in another party’s election. In 1992, Romney voted for former senator Paul Tsongas, a fellow Massachusetts resident, in the state’s presidential primary.

Meanwhile, Romney’s campaign is trying to raise money off Santorum’s robocall. Katie Packer Gage, Romney’s deputy campaign manager, e-mailed supporters Tuesday morning with a plea for donations.

“Out of desperation, Rick Santorum is inviting Democrats into the Republican primary to vote against Mitt Romney,” she wrote. “Rick Santorum has moved beyond just ‘taking one for the team,’ he is now willing to wear the other team’s jersey if he thinks it will get him more votes.”

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