UPDATED: President Barack Obama's campaign is airing a television advertisement in North Carolina that aims to counter a conservative group's recent attacks.
The 30-second spot, titled "Unprecedented," looks at Obama's energy record and ethics after the conservative group Americans for Prosperity (which the ad labels "secretive oil billionaires") aired an advertisement highlighting the controversy about a renewable energy company that took government loans and then went bankrupt. The "unprecedented" quote refers the president's ethics, attributed to Common Cause and the League of Women Voters.
The ad is airing in four battleground states -- but Obama campaign officials refused to disclose the cost of the buy, calling it "significant." A campaign official said it is airing in five N.C. media markets Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Wilmington and Greenville.
Republicans suggest the Obama campaign's ad -- airing this early in the 2012 presidential election -- signals trouble. "If there was any doubt whatsoever that this president is solely focused on saving his job, the fact that Barack Obama is now running television ads in four battleground states should put that to rest. Barack Obama's unprecedented move indicates that he and his campaign team in Chicago are worried that voters have lost faith in his ability to lead," said Ryan Tronovitch, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, in a statement.