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Political Notebook

Rick Santorum sets sights on Wisconsin voters

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Rick Santorum has used an Etch A Sketch as a prop since a Mitt Romney adviser said they could reset Romney’s views.

MILWAUKEE - As voters went to the polls in Louisiana, Rick Santorum told Wisconsin Republicans that Mitt Romney is an inconsistent conservative who should not be trusted with their party’s presidential nomination.

“My public policy isn’t written on an Etch A Sketch,’’ he said Saturday in Milwaukee. “It’s written on my heart because I’m a conservative.’’

The comment, made after his daughter handed him the red children’s toy that allows drawings to be easily erased, followed a statement earlier this week by one of Romney’s top aides on national television that suggested his candidate will get a fresh start on policy positions if he wins the nomination.

“You hit a reset button for the fall campaign,’’ Eric Fehrnstrom told CNN on Wednesday. “Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again.’’

Santorum has seized on the statement ever since, including at his appearance at a forum hosted by Americans for Prosperity, an organization aligned with the Tea Party movement and its opposition to federal spending and taxes.

“When people vote for president, they want to vote for someone they trust, someone who’s authentic, someone who won’t say anything to get elected,’’ he said.

Wisconsin’s April 3 primary and primaries the same day in Maryland and Washington, D.C., will be the next contests in the fight for the Republican presidential nomination.

With more rural and working-class voters, Wisconsin offers a more favorable demographic mix for Santorum than Illinois, where Romney beat him by 12 percentage points March 20.

Santorum, 53, was scheduled to campaign in Wisconsin for the weekend, while Romney is taking the weekend off. BLOOMBERG

Obama urges passage of bill for road and transit aid

WASHINGTON - President Obama wants Congress to end a showdown that threatens to cut off federal highway and transit aid to states just as the spring construction season starts.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama encouraged voters to pressure Democrats and Republicans to pass a transportation bill. He said the economy will take a hit otherwise as construction projects sit idle.

Obama reiterated the White House call for Congress to adopt the two-year $109 billion bill the Senate passed overwhelmingly last week. House Republicans are divided about a five-year $260 billion package. ASSOCIATED PRESS

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