During Clinton’s successful 1992 run against then-President George H.W. Bush, Carville purportedly coined the phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid,” as a way to remind the candidate to stay focused on what he believed to be the strongest argument against Bush’s reelection.

The phrase caught on and has since become a Washington cliché, but with Romney now facing similar circumstances — a fledgling economy and an incumbent president — he spun a variation of the phrase during his campaign speech in New Hampshire on Tuesday night.

“Because [Obama] has failed, he will run a campaign of diversions, distractions and distortions,” Romney said. “That kind of campaign may have worked at another place and in a different time. But not here and not now. It’s still about the economy and we’re not stupid.”

Carville shot back in a DCCC fundraising letter called “Mitt stole my line” on Wednesday.

“In Romney’s speech bashing President Obama last night, he said it’s still about the economy and we’re not stupid,” the letter read in part. “Yeah, it still is about the economy stupid. It’s about how hucksters like Mitt crashed it, the middle class paid the price, and the 1 percent got more tax cuts.”