(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is debuting an attack ad in New Hampshire that paints rival John McCain as soft on tax cuts and illegal immigration.
The 30-second television spot echoes themes found in direct mail the campaign has been sending voters since the Arizona senator’s recent rise in the polls there.
“John McCain—an honorable man. But is he the right Republican for the future?,” says the announcer. “McCain opposes repeal of the death tax, and voted against the Bush tax cuts – twice. McCain pushed to let every illegal immigrant stay here – permanently. He even voted to allow illegals to collect social security.”
“And Mitt Romney – Mitt Romney cut taxes and spending as governor. He opposes amnesty for illegals. Mitt Romney – John McCain. There is a difference.”
McCain is currently tied with the former Massachusetts governor for the lead, or a close second, in most recent surveys of Granite State primary voters.
UPDATE: The McCain campaign responded to the spot with research material disputing each of the factual claims in the ad. “Mitt Romney’s campaign has stalled, so it’s not surprising that he’s resorted to negative attacks in a last-ditch effort to stop the bleeding,” said McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker.
–CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand