ABC’s Z. Byron Wolf and Emily Friedman report:
Mitt Romney’s inaugural TV ad of the 2012 campaign aired today in New Hampshire just as President Obama traveled to the state, but the ad immediately came under fire from Democrats and fact-checkers for incorrectly quoting Obama.
The White House, the Democratic National Committee and Obama’s re-election campaign accused the Romney campaign today of unfairly twisting the president’s words.
Politifact , which monitors the accuracy of campaign statements, gave Romney’s ad a “Pants on fire” rating.
The Romney video uses footage from Obama’s trip to New Hampshire in 2008. In the ad, text rolls over the screen reading, “On October 16, 2008, Barack Obama visited New Hampshire. He promised he would fix the economy. He failed.”
As video footage shows vacated business and foreclosed homes, Obama can be heard saying, “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.”
But the ad does not make clear that in the speech Obama was actually quoting an aide to his Republican opponent at the time, Sen. John McCain.
The Romney campaign did not deny that it took the president’s words out of context and even provided Obama’s full quote in a press release accompanying the ad: “Senator McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, if we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.”
It’s a reference to an anonymous quote by a McCain adviser that appeared in an Oct. 2008 New York Daily News article.
“Now, the tables have turned – President Obama and his campaign are doing exactly what candidate Obama criticized,” the Romney campaign said in a statement. “President Obama and his team don’t want to talk about the economy and have tried to distract voters from his abysmal economic record.”
Democrats pounced on the ad as misleading.
“I mean, what — seriously? I mean, an ad in which they deliberately distort what the president said? I mean, it’s a rather remarkable way to start, and an unfortunate way to start,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters during the trip up to New Hampshire.
Romney’s campaign spent less than $150,000 to run the ad in media markets in New Hampshire, but it has already gotten a far wider airing on cable news and on the Internet.
ABC News’ Michael Falcone contributed reporting.