California negative ad throwdown
Sarah McBride takes a look at the campaign ads in the California race.
California’s gubernatorial frontrunner Jerry Brown pledged Tuesday to remove all negative ads one week before the November 2 election, but only if his rival went along. Meg Whitman, the billionaire Republican with a big self-financed campaign, wasn’t willing to go quite that far.
At first, neither candidate seemed crazy about the proposal from Matt Lauer, moderator of the candidates’ on-stage conversation at the annual Women’s Conference in Long Beach, with current governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, sitting in the middle. As the audience clapped and cheered at the suggestion, the two hopefuls sat stonefaced on stage, their hands motionless in their laps.
“Sometimes negativity was in the eye of the beholder,” said Brown. But perhaps remembering his lead in the polls, he quickly turned generous and said he would if Whitman would.
Whitman, the former eBay CEO, came back with a counteroffer: she would take down ads considered personal attacks, but not those on the issues.
Then she started swinging hard. “I think it’s really important for people to understand what the track record was as governor,” she said, referring to Brown’s previous stint as governor. “Jerry Brown in many ways left this state in worse shape than when he found it. Before Brown could respond fully, Lauer jumped back in, saying he had to wrap up the session.
In the end, coordinating any pledge on ads was left up to Gov. Schwarzenegger, a Republican who has steadfastly refused to endorse either of them.
“The bottom line is, we have the two best candidates,” said Schwarzenegger.
Photo credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni (Meg Whitman, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown at Women’s Conference on October 26, 2010)