Super-PAC ties Romney to 'Big Oil'

The super-PAC backing President Obama’s reelection campaign has launched a new ad that seeks to tether GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney to "Big Oil" at a time of rising gasoline prices.

The ad, sponsored by Priorities USA Action, is running on television and online in eight swing states, and strikes back at ads attacking Obama from the pro-industry American Energy Alliance.

“Who is behind this ad smearing President Obama? Big Oil, that’s who. The money they make from high gas prices is going right into Mitt Romney’s campaign,” states the new Priorities USA Action ad.

“Big Oil executives have pledged $200 million to help him. And Romney has pledged to protect their record profits and their billions in special tax breaks, too,” states the ads, which launched online Monday and will begin appearing on TV later this week.

The dueling Priorities USA Action and American Energy Alliance ads underscore the election-year political stakes of rising gasoline prices. They are both running in the same eight states: Florida, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, New Mexico and Michigan.

The new pro-Obama ad tracks closely with White House and Democratic efforts to cast Republicans as allies of oil companies.

The Senate last week turned back the latest Democratic effort to nix billions of dollars in industry tax breaks. While the bill never stood a chance of winning the needed 60 votes, it showed that Democrats are seeking opportunities to put Republicans on the defensive politically over pump prices that loom as a threat to Obama's campaign and that of other incumbent lawmakers.

While policymakers have little control over prices at the pump, especially in the near term, nationwide prices that are creeping toward an average of $4 per gallon are fueling intensifying attacks on both sides.

The $3.6 million American Energy Alliance ad buy unveiled March 29 focuses on a series of common conservative criticisms of the president, including that he isn’t making enough federal land available for domestic oil-and-gas production.

Click here for more about that ad.

This post was updated at 9:45 a.m.