Huntsman Questions Romney's Job Creation Record

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

A scrap has erupted out on the campaign trail between two Republican presidential campaigns.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is attacking Mitt Romney's record on job creation as governor of Massachusetts. During an endorsement event in Greenville, South Carolina on Tuesday, Huntsman was asked to comment on how the two men compare, including on the issue of job creation. Huntsman responded, "47th is 47th... First is first. Let the facts speak for themselves."

His answer was a reference to how he did during his tenure as governor of Utah, which has been touted for having the best overall job-growth rate of any state, compared to Massachusetts, which was ranked by the U.S. Labor Department as 47th in the entire country in jobs growth during Romney's term.

Romney campaign spokesperson Andrea Saul responded to FOX News via email, "Mitt Romney created nearly 50,000 jobs as governor of Massachusetts and led his state to one of the most dramatic job market turnarounds in the country."

Huntsman's team took to Twitter. Matt Connelly, the Rapid Response Director, tweeted, "Jon Huntsman Created More Jobs in Utah Than Mitt Romney Created in Massachusetts." And James Richardson who handles online communications tweeted, "Between Jan '05 and Jan '07, UT added 107,843 jobs, an 8.93% increase." However, it is worth noting that Huntsman was in office until August 11th, 2009.

Huntsman's offensive move is a surprising escalation considering he kicked off his candidacy with a call for civility. At his announcement with the Statue of Liberty as backdrop on June 21, he said, "We will conduct this campaign on the high road. I don't think you need to run down someone's reputation in order to run for the Office of President. Of course we'll have our disagreements. That's what campaigns are all about. But I want you to know that I respect my fellow Republican candidates."

Mitt Romney has been busy playing the role of frontrunner, choosing not to attack fellow Republicans and instead reserving his fire for President Obama.

In Allentown, PA last month, Fox News asked Romney whether he was trying to stay above the fray and whether that is part of his overall campaign strategy. Romney responded, "I'm very much in the fray when it comes to dealing with the president and his economic policies because they're not working. Obamanomics is not working."

Romney officials tell FOX News that their candidate "campaigning as a frontrunner" is simply a reflection of reality, not a part of their overall campaign strategy.

Fox News Producer Jake Gibson and Fox News Junior Reporter Mary Quinn O'Connor contributed to this report.