Keeping President Barack Obama's promise to hammer Mitt Romney's record on the economy through to November, the embattled incumbent's re-election campaign unleashed a new 30-second television ad entitled "Number One" that implies the Republican's record in Massachusetts was a pile of Number Two.
The Romney campaign hit back immediately, with spokeswoman Andrea Saul charging that Team Obama was unleashing "another distortion" of the former governor's record because it has "nothing positive to say" about the president's time in office.
The commercial will air in key battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Obama vowed recently to keep up attacks on Romney's central campaign claim: That as a wildly successful businessman, he is the better candidate to revive the ailing economy and create jobs while draining the country's ocean of red ink. The Obama campaign fired a similar broadside last week.
"When Mitt Romney was governor, Massachusetts was No. 1—No. 1 in state debt," the ad's narrator says.
He goes on to say that on Romney's watch, Massachusetts racked up the highest debt per person of any state, even as it fell to 47th in job creation.
"First in debt, 47th in job creation—that's Romney economics," the narrator says. "It didn't work then. It won't work now."
That drew an immediate counter-strike from the Romney campaign.
"President Obama has overseen trillion-dollar deficits, soaring national debt and the first credit downgrade in history," Saul said in a statement.
The spokeswoman said Romney closed a $3 billion budget shortfall, balanced four budgets and left $2 billion in a "rainy day fund" while Massachusetts earned a credit rating upgrade.
"President Obama will do anything to distract from his abysmal economic record," she said. "Mitt Romney knows our country can do better and, under his leadership, it will do better."