Romney has focused recent Granite State attacks on McCain.
NORTH CONWAY, New Hampshire (CNN) - Mitt Romney told a crowd in notoriously tax-averse New Hampshire Saturday that rival John McCain had "failed Reagan 101" by not supporting President Bush's tax cuts, the latest in a series of new attacks on his Republican rival’s fiscal conservatism.
"He voted against the Bush tax cuts – twice … That’s failing Reagan 101," said the former Massachusetts governor. "Reagan taught almost all of us in the Republican party that lowering taxes would grow the economy, and was good for the economy, and good for individuals. I believe the Republicans are going to nominate a tax cutter to become President."
Romney’s campaign also sent reporters a press release Saturday titled ‘Straight Talk Detour,’ which compared the Arizona senator’s statements on the Bush tax cuts to those of Democratic Sens. Ted Kennedy and John Kerry of Massachusetts.
The McCain camp immediately shot back. "From his claims of being a 'lifelong hunter' to receiving the NRA's endorsement to marching with Martin Luther King, Jr., it's clear that Mitt Romney has trouble with the truth,” former New Hampshire Rep. Chuck Douglas, McCain’s New Hampshire vice chairman, said in a statement.
“His latest attacks are yet another example of his complete inability to level with the voters of New Hampshire. The facts are clear: Romney refused to endorse the Bush tax cuts he now claims to champion, maybe because he was too busy raising taxes in Massachusetts by over $700 million per year - more than any other state in his first year in office,” said Douglas.
The past few days have seen Granite State frontrunner Mitt Romney refocus his attention on the newly-resurgent McCain, who is currently at or tied for second place in most recent surveys of the GOP primary race there. The state’s voters head to the polls in just over two weeks.
After Romney’s speech, New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, who has endorsed the former governor, told reporters the race “is coming down to a contest between Sen. McCain and Gov. Romney here in New Hampshire."
There has long been no love lost between Romney and McCain. The two men and their campaign allies were at odds, privately and publicly, long before either was a declared candidate. For Chuck Douglas, quoted in the McCain’s campaign’s tough Saturday statement, the anti-Romney sentiment may also be personal: in 1990, he lost his congressional seat to Democrat Dick Swett – who received a campaign donation from Romney during his first re-election bid.
–CNN's Sareena Dalla and Rebecca Sinderbrand