Manchester (US):  Barack Obama flew into a fierce row with Mitt Romney on Wednesday as the White House blasted his possible 2012 Republican foe over a blistering critique of the president's jobs record.

Obama, visiting New Hampshire, also used an emotive argument linked to the coming holiday season to hike pressure on Republicans to agree to his calls for an extension of a payroll tax cut before it expires at the year-end.

Romney's first television ad charged Obama with failing to honour promises made in New Hampshire in 2008 to fix the economy, and accused the president of presiding over them "greatest jobs crisis since the Great Depression."

 The spot, offering a testy preview of what may be the 2012 general election match-up, also ripped an Obama quote -- "If we keep talking about the economy we're going to lose" -- out of context.

The president actually made the comment in 2008 in quoting a strategist for his then Republican opponent Senator John McCain, but Romney's ad make it seems as though he is referring to his own reelection bid.

White House spokesman Jay Carney accused the Romney campaign of "blatant dishonesty" and of deliberately distorting Obama's words.

"It is a rather remarkable way and an unfortunate way to start," Carney said.
Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse branded Romney a "serial deceiver," playing up a Democratic charge that the former Massachusetts governor lacks principles.

(Agencies)