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Literally days into Rick Perry’s new 2012 campaign, he has already drawn the ire of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney as the two have began trading barbs. At odds is whether private sector experience versus state job growth is more important in this campaign.

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Report from The Hill:

Contours of how Mitt Romney and Rick Perry will campaign against each other emerged on Monday, as each questioned the economic record of the other.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, speaking in New Hampshire, stressed his record in the private sector as his primary qualification to win the Republican presidential nomination.

“I’m not going to need a primer on the economy if I’m lucky enough to be elected president,” he said at a town hall in New Hampshire that was streamed online.

Specifically when it comes to Perry, Romney said that “having worked in the real economy is finally essential in the White House,” CNN reported.

It echoes a response that Romney gave Thursday during the GOP presidential debate in Ames, Iowa.

“Herman Cain and I are the two on the stage here who’ve actually worked in the real economy,” Romney said that evening. “If people want to send to Washington someone who spent their entire career in government, they can choose a lot of folks. But if they want to choose somebody who understands how the private sector works, they’re going to have to choose one of us, because we’ve been in it during our career.”

Economic management is the proverbial feather in the cap for both Romney and Perry. The Texas governor boasts of one of the best job creation records in his state amid a tough economic environment, though his detractors say those numbers aren’t as rosy as they seem.

Perry got a question on Romney’s comments from reporters on the ground at the Iowa State Fair, where the Texan was campaigning.

“Take a look at his record when he was governor. Take a look at my record,” Perry responded, according to a New York Times reporter.

Meanwhile, Ron Paul has taken to attacking both Romney, Perry and Bachmann. Report from USA Today:

Presidential hopeful Ron Paul takes aim at the three candidates getting the most attention in the GOP race, blasting Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann as “smooth-talking politicians” in the same company as President Obama.

The Texas congressman, who finished second to Bachmann in last weekend’s Iowa straw poll, highlights his votes against “every tax increase, every unbalanced budget” and proclaims he is the candidate who “will stop the spending, save the dollar, create jobs” and “bring peace.”

Images of Perry, Romney and Bachmann — along with Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — roll by throughout the ad. The script begins by describing a story of “smooth-talking politicians” and “games of he said, she said.”

The ad will air in Iowa and New Hampshire, where the first presidential nominating contests will be held in February.

Job growth and economic development is going to be front and center down the stretch. It is the point at which President Obama is most vulnerable and the GOP would do well to simply focus on that issue and avoid attacking each other.

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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