Karl Rove criticizes then defends Romney

GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney took his economic message to the NAACP - and got booed when he talked about repealing President Obama's health care initiative, reports Jan Crawford.

Karl Rove is coming to Mitt Romney's defense with $9.3 million dollars worth of campaign advertisements Friday, but the move doesn't come without some advice: start defending yourself.

Rove's pro-Romney super PAC, American Crossroads, is releasing the ad "Smoke" in nine battleground states in an effort to push back on President Obama's ads attacking Romney over outsourcing and his tax returns.

The Crossroads ad, which will run in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia, says the president is attacking Romney because he is trying to avoid talking about the economy.

"He's adding $4 billion of debt each day, the unemployment rate is stuck above 8 percent, and family incomes are falling. Obama can't run on that record," the narrator says.

The television advertisements come on the heels of a column Rove wrote in The Wall Street Journal advising Romney to step up his self-defense.

"The Romney campaign's response--which included whiny demands that the president apologize for his attacks--has unsettled GOP activists, causing them to wonder how prepared Mr. Romney and his team are for the mudfest they've entered," Rove wrote. "And they've allowed Mr. Obama to avoid talking about the continually bad economic news--the lousy June jobs numbers, last Friday's drop in consumer confidence, Tuesday's drop in retail sales and more."

Rove argues that Romney must do a better job defending his record or else he risks turning off swing voters.

"Mr. Romney should challenge Mr. Obama directly ... but in a way that makes the Republican bigger and more presidential than the incumbent," Rove advised.

  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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