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Romney and Obama re-engage after weekend truce

 

IRVINE, CA -- After a weekend in which the presidential race took a back seat to a national period of mourning for the victim's of Friday's shootings in Aurora, Colorado, the Romney and Obama campaigns resumed their attacks against one another with gusto on Monday.

At a fundraiser here in Southern California, Mitt Romney spent almost no time resuming his attack on the president's economic policies, and what he said was the president's failure to "do what's necessary," to pull the United States out of a recession.

"Instead, he pursued his liberal agenda," Romney told a crowd of some 400 donors. "He's a liberal through and through."

Romney's supporters said that the Obama campaign's top strategist David Axelrod was the first to break the campaign's weekend ceasefire, in which the two men refrained from personal attacks or aggressive campaigning, and took political ads off the air in Colorado.

"Tax returns. Bundlers. Bain. MA records & now key docs from Olympics. When it comes to secrecy, Mitt takes the gold!" Axelrod tweeted earlier this morning.

A new ad from the Obama team, which features the president speaking directly to the camera, pulls back from the campaign's dissection of Romney's tax returns and tenure at Bain Capital but offers a broad contrast between both men's economic visions

"Sometimes politics can seem very small," the president says in the ad. "But the choice you face, it couldn’t be bigger."

While Romney's fundraiser was ongoing, the Obama campaign also held a conference call with reporters, looking to undermine the presumptive GOP nominee's upcoming trip to the United Kingdom, Israel and Poland.

"He'll need to prove to the American people that he sees foreign policy issues as worthy of substantive discussion rather than just generalities and soundbites in this campaign," former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said on the call.

Meanwhile, true to form, Romney picked up where his campaign left off on Thursday by returning to the president's "You didn't build that," remark at a fundraiser one week ago Friday, calling it an "extraordinarily revealing" insight into the president's economic ideology.

"With the president's logic, by the way, that somehow everything is owed to government, would extend in some remarkable ways to the perception of an achievement nation," Romney said, adding later: "It's an ideology that somehow says its the collective and government that we need to celebrate. The truth is, we do celebrate our government and our collective goodness as a nation, but we also celebrate and extol the accomplishments of the individual."

At his only public event of the day, a roundtable with small business owners in Costa Mesa, Romney's criticisms were more muted. He mostly sat and listened, while business owners, carefully selected by the campaign, complained of onerous regulations and job-crushing tax burdens.

Romney's only direct attack on the president came in the form of a snarky bit of advice for the president, who Romney pointed out in his closing remarks, had not met with his Jobs Council, a bipartisan group of business leaders who's stated purpose is to advise the president on creating jobs, in more than six months.

"I would suggest between the fundraisers, get together with jobs council and learn from people who are working hard to create jobs," Romney said.

And while Romney did not directly refer to the "You didn't build that," controversy, behind him hung a visual reminder of the unstated message: A brand new banner sign reading: "We DID built it."

NBC's Carrie Dann contributed reporting