In new ad, Obama campaign plays defense on energy

Loath to allow Republicans to dominate the 2012 energy discussion with attacks, President Barack Obama's campaign responded to coordinated Republican attacks on the administration's energy policy with a new campaign ad of its own on Monday, which also takes aim at Mitt Romney.

"Why is big oil attacking him? Because he's fighting to end their tax breaks," a voice-over states about Obama in the new commercial. "Mitt Romney stood with big oil for their tax breaks."

The commercial is airing in the key battleground states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia—the same states where the American Energy Alliance group (which Democrats say is funded by the billionaire oil magnates David and Charles Koch) is running a $3.6 million campaign blasting the president on energy.

The campaign's decision to invest directly in this tit-for-tat suggests that gas prices combined with the Solyndra scandal are a real concern for the president's supporters.

It also highlights Romney as the campaign's biggest opponent. Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement Monday that "it's no surprise President Obama is spending his soon-to-be $1 billion war chest to attack Mitt Romney and deflect blame for his failure to control gas prices." Saul repeated Republican attacks highlighting Energy Secretary Steven Chu's 2008 statement about the benefits of European-level gas prices.

Monday's commercial is only the second television ad to be released by the Obama campaign itself. It is the first television commercial from the campaign to directly identify Romney.

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