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Obama and Romney advertisements take opposing positions on public servants

By STEVE HANDELSMAN, NBC News

In dueling new advertisements, President Obama and Mitt Romney take opposing positions on public servants like police, teachers and firefighters.

It's not the work they do that's the issue, it's their pay.

President Obama is demanding Congress fund his plan to help states, cities, and towns with payrolls.

A new Obama ad highlights Romney's opposition, using his own words.

"He says we need more firemen, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The american people did! It's time for us to cut back on government and help the !American people!" Romney said.

Team Obama says Governor Romney tried to cut public employees.

"You can talk about firefighters and teachers being great people and public servants which they are but there's all sorts of pension problems associated with public employees and that takes explanation," notes Brown University political science professor Wendy Schiller.

Explanation is what the White House is still trying after the president said Friday the private economic sector is "fine".

"Because of massive layoffs of teachers, firefighters and police officers, a reduction in the public sector that was the context in which he was speaking," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney noted, but a new Romney ad features the Obama quote.

Public employee unions are already in the fight.

One, the SEIU, is up with a new series of anti-Romney ads.

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