WASHINGTON (CNN) - Trailing in the polls, Democrat Creigh Deeds is hoping a little Bush-bashing will help him gain ground against Republican Bob McDonnell in the Virginia governor's race.
Just hours after the Republican Governors Association released an ad criticizing the former state senator's record on government spending, the Deeds camp struck back Wednesday night with a new attack ad of their own.
The spot featured a man and a woman chatting about the economy. "How's your summer?" a woman asks. A man responds: "Ugh. Just trying to get by."
"George Bush, what a disaster for our economy," says the woman.
"What I can't figure is why this Bob McDonnell wants to do it just like Bush," the man says, pointing out that McDonnell recent remark that "the Bush economy was 'a revival.'"
At a debate in July, McDonnell said the Bush economic policies enacted after September 11, 2001 are "the reason that we've had this economic revival in America"
Listen: Deeds camp bashes Bush in new radio ad
"I call it a failure," the woman in the ad says. "Why let Bob McDonnell take us back to economic policies that hurt families like mine?"
According to a recent Washington Post poll, 63 percent of Virginia voters blame the Bush administration for the country's troubled economy.
The minute-long ad reveals a new strategy for the Deeds team - embracing the roll of "underdog." The Post poll showed Deeds trailing McDonnell by 15 points among likely Virginia voters.
When the man in the ad declares he's voting for Deeds, his female counterpart responds: "That underdog guy?"
The spot also makes an effort to liken Deeds to the popular former governor - and now senator - Mark Warner. But like the candidate's first TV ad, which debuted last week, the radio spot makes no mention of the current Democratic governor, Tim Kaine, whose approval ratings have tumbled along with the struggling economy.
McDonnell's campaign accused Deeds of going negative to shore up a flagging campaign.
"Today Bob McDonnell was endorsed by Virginia's small business owners, following his endorsements by Virginia's farmers, realtors and credit unions," McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said Wednesday. "Meanwhile Creigh was busy copying the Democrats' New Jersey playbook and launching attacks about former Presidents. The contrast between the two campaigns only grows sharper."