The Republican targets the attorney general’s lengthy government service. A coalition of unions backing Brown slashes at Whitman’s ties to Goldman Sachs.

By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times

June 24, 2010

Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman and allies of Democratic rival Jerry Brown pummeled each other on the airwaves Wednesday, each releasing a new television ad that ratcheted up the campaign’s animosity.

A coalition of unions supporting Brown slashed at Whitman’s ties to controversial Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs. Whitman, meanwhile, tore through Brown’s four-decade-long resume.

“In a word, it’s war,” said Larry Gerston, a political science professor at San Jose State. “Whitman knows that the only way she can maintain her momentum is to continue her campaign nonstop…. She forces Brown to fight much earlier than he would like given the fact that his resources are very deficient compared to Whitman.”

The one-minute Whitman ad features a spinning vinyl record and photos from the 1970s, clearly designed to make voters think 72-year-old Brown is a relic. A narrator critiques Brown’s two terms as governor from 1975 to 1983, his work in the private sector in the 1990s and his more recent tenure as Oakland mayor. The ad also includes a manufactured image of Brown standing in front of a banner that says, “$7 Billion New Taxes.”

“A lifetime in politics, a legacy of failure,” a narrator concludes.

The ad prompted Brown’s campaign to send a fundraising plea to supporters. Whitman, the former chief executive officer of EBay, is a billionaire who has already spent $91 million of her own wealth on her effort while Brown has had to hoard his donated funds.

“Facts are stubborn,” wrote campaign manager Steve Glazer in an e-mail to supporters. “Maybe that’s why Meg Whitman would rather throw her money at expensive, false TV ads than have a real conversation with voters across our state.”

The 30-second anti-Whitman ad, an independent effort funded by an association of labor unions, seeks to tie Whitman to corrupt practices on Wall Street. After Whitman hired Goldman Sachs to handle the online auction house’s investment banking business, Goldman began to give her early access to profitable stock offerings.

“We can’t afford a governor who puts herself before us, no matter how she spins it,” the narrator concludes.

Whitman’s campaign lashed out at the ad’s sponsors and at Brown. “Government unions bought this ad just like they’ve bought Jerry Brown,” said spokeswoman Sarah Pompei.

A review showed that both ads were misleading.

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