The Democrats and President Obama's re-election campaign are trading punches with Crossroads GPS, a conservative political action committee allied with Mitt Romney's Republican presidential bid.
What triggered the latest dustup is a new $7 million ad campaign by Crossroads GPS, starting Tuesday in ten battleground states, including Florida and Ohio. The TV ads attack Obama for allowing profligate spending and making the economy worse.
"President Obama keeps spending and charging more on the nation's maxed-out credit cards," said Steven Law, president of Crossroads GPS, which was co-founded by Karl Rove, the former chief strategist for President George W. Bush.
Law also condemned Obama's "class warfare tax hikes."
In reply, Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse said Romney would bring back the policies of George W. Bush that "crashed" the economy. He cited tax cuts for the rich that weren't paid for and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that weren't paid for.
The exchange illustrates how the debate over the economy has become a high-stakes battle in the election campaign.
Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News & World Report. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook and Twitter.