(CNN) – The Obama re-election team launched an all-out offense against Mitt Romney's record while governor of Massachusetts on Thursday with his top strategist arguing the "failed" policies supported by Romney as governor mirror those he now espouses.
On the steps of the Massachusetts State House, David Axelrod compared the promises Romney makes on the trail to those he delivered to Massachusetts voters, policies that he said led, among other things, to an increase in taxes and debt, a drop in job creation and cuts to education.
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"Massachusetts stumbled under Gov. Romney. He brought the orientation of a financial engineer who's career has not been about generating jobs it's been about generating short-term profit," Axelrod said before a group of supporters and protesters. "This may work in the realm of leveraged buyouts and quick scores. That may work in that world, but it's not how you build a future."
Axelrod followed a stream of former and current state officials who served the Bay State while Romney was governor, who each said Romney is trying to falsely sell his private sector experience as something that will help him ignite job creation, a promise he made and failed to deliver during his four years as governor.
"Gov. Romney came to the governor's office stating his business experience was to help the middle class by creating more jobs when in fact the record will show that he failed miserably," said John Barrett, the former North Adams, Massachusetts mayor.
Axelrod was greeted by Romney-supportive protesters, who he addressed at the top of his remarks.
"It is great to be in Massachusetts, Obama country," Axelrod responded. "I get tweets from some of these folks so I feel close to them. You can shout down speakers my friends but it is hard to etch-a-sketch the truth away."
The "Etch-A-Sketch" comment was a reference to a statement earlier in the year from a top Romney adviser who described the impending campaign re-set after the GOP primary as "like an Etch-A-Sketch."
The coordinated attack from Team Obama is the latest step from the campaign to discredit Romney's public and private record. They have steadily targeted his past as a private equity executive at Bain Capital and more recently have turned their lens to his experience in elected office.
Before the Obama event, two Republican state representatives took to the same steps to defend Romney's Massachusetts record on job creation, saying he generated more jobs while chief executive of the state than President Barack Obama has in his first term.
"The beautiful thing about the contrast here today with Gov. Romney and President Obama is that it's an apples to apples comparison. Both men took office as chief executives in a time of recession, in a time of downturn in the economy, look at the track record both men have to show for it," state Rep. Dan Winslow told reporters. "Romney had job creation in Massachusetts with net jobs created that exceed the number of net jobs created in the entire Untied States under the Obama administration."
"The reason Axelrod is here, the reason they're attacking Gov. Romney's record is they have nothing positive to say about their record of the last four years," Winslow added.
But Lis Smith, a spokeswoman for the Obama campaign, pointed to job creation in the United States over the past two months and said it makes more sense to compare job growth in Massachusetts with other states during the same time period, instead of with the president's record.
As the campaign often does, Smith pointed the state's 47th standing in the nation in terms of job growth when Romney left office.
That oft-cited number is technically accurate, though the nonpartisan PolitiFact rates the assertion as only "half true," noting that it's a stretch to entirely blame Romney (or any governor) for a state's jobs numbers.
Earlier Thursday, Winslow described the statistic as a "canard," adding that Massachusetts was hit hard by the tech bubble burst.
- Watch an interview with Axelrod on CNN's "John King, USA" at 6 p.m. ET.