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Video: Romney, Obama spar over economic records

  1. Transcript of: Romney, Obama spar over economic records

    LESTER HOLT, anchor: To presidential politics now, and more fallout from that disappointing jobs report. Today, Romney surrogates went on the attack, putting the president's senior campaign strategists on the defensive. Also an election this week in the state of Wisconsin is getting a lot of attention now nationally. Both sides viewing it as a possible bellwether for the fall. NBC 's Mike Viqueira has our report.

    MIKE VIQUEIRA reporting: In the wake of the bad news on jobs, today, Mitt Romney aides continued their attack.

    Mr. KEVIN MADDEN (Romney Campaign Senior Adviser): If we had a president who had a record to run on, he would do so.

    Mr. ERIC FEHRNSTROM (Romney Campaign Senior Adviser): This president came into office without any prior experience running anything.

    VIQUEIRA: Senior Obama staff slammed Romney's economic record as governor of Massachusetts .

    Mr. DAVID AXELROD (Obama Campaign Senior Strategist): They grew jobs at one-fifth the rate of the rest of the country . It wasn't the record of a job creator. He had the wrong economy philosophy and he failed.

    VIQUEIRA: Both sides are bracing for a tight race. An early test could come Tuesday in Wisconsin , where the bitter fight to recall GOP Governor Scott Walker is being billed by both sides as a dry run in the presidential race .

    Representative PAUL RYAN (Republican, Wisconsin): The whole country is watching us. This is an election that will send shock waves throughout America .

    VIQUEIRA: In office just 18 months, Walker ignited a firestorm after stripping public workers of collective bargaining rights and making them pay more into pension and health plans. A record $64 million has been spent on the recall, much of it from out-of-state unions and their opponents nationwide. National figures on both sides have weighed in, including Bill Clinton , who campaigned with the challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett .

    Former President BILL CLINTON: You tell them no.

    VIQUEIRA: But President Obama has stayed away. With Walker holding a slight lead in the polls, experts say the result could be a sign of things to come.

    Mr. MARK MURRAY (NBC News Senior Political Editor): There is no more polarized electorate than in Wisconsin . In a lot of ways it's a microcosm for the rest of the country . And it's going to be a test run to what we're going to see in November.

    VIQUEIRA: And the race for the White House in November, Lester , is tight and getting tighter. And to that end, it's going to be costly as well. President Obama travels to New York City tomorrow for three separate fund-raisers with Bill Clinton . Meanwhile, Mitt Romney out at fund-raisers, six of them, he's

    got booked throughout the week. Lester: Mike Viqueira at the White House tonight, thank you.

    HOLT:

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