President Barack Obama's re-election campaign launched its first TV ad in Nevada on Monday to promote his energy policy and slam his likely GOP opponent Mitt Romney.
The 30-second commercial marks the start of the general election air wars as the Obama campaign called out Romney by name for the first time.
The TV spot, which wil air in Las Vegas and Reno, is the second 2012 campaign ad for Obama and, like his first, focuses on energy and rising gas prices.
Obama's new commercial notes that U.S. oil production is at an 8-year high under his administration and asks the question, "So why is Big Oil attacking him?"
It also answers the question: "Because he's fighting to end their tax breaks," the ad narrator says.
The American Energy Alliance is spending $3.6 million on a TV ad campaign attacking Obama's energy policies and blaming him for rising gas prices, nearing $4 a gallon. The alliance is backed by the oil industry and has ties to big GOP donors Charles and David Koch, according to published reports.
After defending Obama's record of promoting more efficient cars and clean energy, the ad shifts to slamming Romney.
"In all these fights, Mitt Romney's stood with Big Oil -- for their tax breaks, attacking higher mileage standards and renewables," the ad narrator says.
The Romney campaign was quick to hit back at Obama.
“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," said Andrea Saul, Romney's spokeswoman. "His own Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, said in 2008 that we have to find a way to get the price of gas up to the level in Europe. It looks like he’s succeeding, and, unfortunately, the American people are worse off for it.”
The Obama campaign ad will air in Nevada, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio and Virginia -- all key states that are part of Obama's strategy to win re-election in November.
In 2008, Obama won Nevada by 13 percentage points, but has since fallen in popularity as the economy continues to struggle. Romney has a strong GOP base of support in the Silver State, winning the Feb. 4 Republican presidential caucus with 50 percent of the vote to win half the 28 Nevada delegates at stake.