[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/10/art.rubioad.0310.gi.jpg caption ="Marco Rubio launched his first TV ad Wednesday."](CNN) - Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio has launched the first television ad of the bitter Republican primary fight between himself and Gov. Charlie Crist.
The minute-long spot is partly biographical, highlighting Rubio's heritage as the son of Cuban immigrants, and partly an attack on government spending in Washington.
"As the son of exiles, I understand what it means to lose the gift of freedom. And that's why I know we cannot and will not allow America to fail at this time – in this way," Rubio says in the ad, speaking directly into the camera.
"Washington is broken and too many politicians don't get it. America needs Republicans who will stand up to Barack Obama – not join him," he tells viewers. "Leaders who will stand for conservative values – not sacrifice them."
Rubio's team is not providing details on how much money is being spent on the ad, saying only that it will run on the Fox News Channel and "across Florida."
Though Rubio leads his Republican rival in the polls, Crist entered 2010 with a significant cash advantage over Rubio, money that can be used to blanket the TV and radio airwaves with ads as the August 24 primary approaches. Crist began January with more than $7 million in the bank, while Rubio had roughly $2 million.
New financial reports due at the end of the month will reveal if Rubio is closing the money gap with Crist.
Responding to the ad, Crist's campaign said that Rubio is "just another typical politician who uses his public office for personal gain and only comes clean once caught."
"As the truth begins to surface about Speaker Rubio's double billing of taxpayers, lavish spending of Republican money, and, just today, excessive pork barrel spending, no ad will be able to stop voters from seeing he is not who he claims to be," Crist spokeswoman Andrea Saul said.