President Barack Obama speaks directly to the camera for the first time in this election cycle in a new TV ad released by his campaign on Monday, outlining "the choice" before American voters.

The minute-long spot features the president contrasting his vision for the country with that of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

"Over the next four months, you have a choice to make," Obama says. "Not just between two political parties, or even two people. It’s a choice between two very different plans for our country."

According to Obama, Romney's proposed agenda would undermine middle-class job creation and opportunity. But while the president states that his opponent will cut taxes for the wealthy and loosen regulations on big banks, the overall tone of the commercial is a departure from the negative advertising that has dominated much of the cycle thus far.

"Sometimes politics can seem very small," Obama says at the end of the ad. "But the choice you face, it couldn't be bigger."

The commercial will air in battleground states Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. It is also the first ad released by the Obama campaign since Friday's mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., which prompted both presidential campaigns to momentarily suspend all advertising in the state.

UPDATE: 6:07 p.m. -- Amanda Henneberg, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign, responded to the ad with the following statement:

President Obama believes that government creates jobs, not hard-working entrepreneurs and small-business owners. Not only are his ‘you didn’t build that’ comments insulting to job creators, but they also reflect how unqualified he is to lead our country toward an economic recovery. Instead of meeting with his Jobs Council, he is busy holding fundraisers, playing golf and trying to tear down Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney will never be too busy to focus on jobs and the economy and it will be his top priority as president.

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