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A sign that things are changing? Obama ad attacks Romney for plan to increase military spending

A new campaign ad highlights Mitt Romney's plan to increase military spending. But this isn't a pro-Romney ad.

A new campaign ad highlights Mitt Romney's plan to increase military spending. But this isn't a pro-Romney ad. Instead, it's an attack ad put out by the Obama campaign? 

The new national TV ad says Americans have a "choice" between President Obama and Romney, and criticizes Romney's plans to give tax breaks to millionaires, and to "increase military spending, adding trillions to the deficit."

As Rachel Maddow pointed out Wednesday night, it's pretty much unprecedented in modern times for a Democratic presidential candidate to attack a Republican for wanting to boost military spending.

"This ad is taking on not just the legacy of the George W. Bush years, but also Mitt Romney bragging, which he does on the stump regularly, that he will increase defense spending, and hanging that on him about the deficit," Maddow said.

"In my lifetime I have never seen a Democratic president play political offense on the issue of military spending so aggressively," Maddow continued. "I have never seen it. And that's because the common wisdom for decades has been that that kind of a message is impossible. It cannot work. Democrats cannot criticize Republicans for wanting to spend too much on the military."

In her recent book Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, Maddow highlights the expanding military budget, and the political and institutional difficulties of stemming the military's growth.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) later agreed, saying the ad is another sign that Americans are tired of excessive military spending. 

"I think what's happened, finally, what the American people understand, is that there is no power in the world that comes remotely close to threatening our existence," he said.

Frank continued: "People now in the majority do understand, yes we must reduce the deficit, yes we have to include the military, otherwise we devastate all the programs that affect the quality of life at home."

He added: "Given the nature of the world, we can afford to do it. We are significantly overspending."