(CNN) – The Democratic super PAC Priorities USA launched a television ad Wednesday in states they deem competitive in the next election, directly responding to an ad from the conservative Crossroads GPS, an independent group founded by Karl Rove.
The 30-second spot from Priorities USA, which according to the group will run for the next two weeks in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina and Virginia, calls the Crossroads ad "politics at its worst."
"The Republicans have opposed economic reforms at every turn and now they have a plan that would essentially end Medicare for future retirees, slash education while giving huge tax breaks to big oil and the wealthy," the ad says. "We can't rebuild America if they tear down the middle class."
The Crossroads ad released Monday criticized President Obama's handling of the economy, tying him to the unemployment rate, national debt and high gas prices.
"14 million out of work. America drowning in debt. It's time to take away Obama's blank check," the ad says.
A source with knowledge of the spot from Priorities USA told CNN the buy is approximately $750,000, compared to the $5 million spent by Crossroads.
But the source said the conservative buy is spread out over states with "varying levels of competitiveness," whereas Priorities USA is focused on states the group knows are competitive.
"We never expected we would be able to match Karl Rove dollar-for-dollar but we have a smarter advertising strategy and are running more effective ads," the source said. "We just formed a couple months ago but will be ramping up our activity especially as we get closer to the end of this year."
Priorities USA and Priorities USA Action launched in April to compete with outside Republican groups, like American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS that spent millions to influence the 2010 midterm elections.
Senior strategists of the Democratic group include Bill Burton, former deputy White House press secretary, Sean Sweeney, former senior adviser to former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Paul Begala, a top political adviser to former President Bill Clinton and a CNN contributor.
Karl Rove, former political adviser to former President George W. Bush and former Republican National Committee chairmen Ed Gillespie and Mike Duncan founded the Republican group.
Both organizations have two arms allowing them not to disclose their complete list of donors. American Crossroads and Priorities USA Action are 527 organizations that must reveal their donors. Crossroads GPS and Priorities USA are 501(c)(4) groups, which are not required to disclose their contributors.