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ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says the issue in the presidential race is not the economy but an oppressive government that’s taking away people’s freedom.

Santorum made the remark Monday while campaigning in Rockford, Ill. Illinois has its GOP primary on Tuesday.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has made his record as a venture capitalist central to his argument that he can do better with the American economy than Santorum or President Barack Obama.

Polls show that the economy is the foremost issue for American voters.

Santorum criticized Obama’s healthcare law, particularly its mandate that people have health insurance. He said the economy is an issue because the government is oppressing people and taking away their freedom and that the economy is suffering as a result.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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