Romney looks for Ill. win while Santorum stumbles

JIM KUHNHENN STEVE PEOPLES Associated Press Published:

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) -- Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are facing off today in Illinois, a state that was once home to President Barack Obama.

Romney was betting his message of economic proficiency would triumph over Santorum's sharply honed conservatism.

Both men were competing for 54 delegates in one of the last major battlegrounds before a three-week lull in April.

Romney displayed confidence Monday while Santorum was forced on the defensive for declaring that "the campaign doesn't hinge on unemployment rates."

Santorum later conceded the economy and unemployment were important, but said they were symptoms of government intrusion and eroding freedom.

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