Whitman accuses Brown of having ‘no plan’ in latest ad
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Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman began airing a new television advertisement Thursday accusing her Democratic rival Jerry Brown of having “no plan” to fix California’s woes and using Brown’s televised comments from two decades ago against him.
Whitman ramped up that line of attack last week when she released a 34-page booklet that laid out her proposals for creating 2 million new jobs by 2015. While the former EBay chief executive has released more detailed policy prescriptions than Brown, her new booklet breezed over plans for tax credits and tax cuts to encourage job growth, but acknowledged on one page that it is difficult even for experts to “accurately predict or guarantee the future.”
In her new ad, Whitman’s campaign pulled two clips from CNN talk shows in the mid-1990s that were -- in one case, misleadingly -- presented as Brown’s assessment of his stint as California’s governor in the 1970s: “Jobs leaving, a budget disaster, California on the brink,” the announcer intones. “Jerry Brown’s plan?”
The ad then cuts to an April 1995 clip from CNN’s “The Late Edition” in which Brown said: “You run for office and the assumption is, ‘Oh, I know what to do. But you don’t. I didn’t have a plan for California.’ ”
The announcer interjects, “With our state in crisis, we need a governor with a plan.”
Back to another quick clip of Brown, this time in February 1996 on CNN’s “Crossfire”: “You need a real plan. Something I’ll acknowledge I did not have.” (In that instance, Brown was referring to his 1992 presidential bid, not to his time as California’s governor).
“Jerry Brown. No plan then. No plan now,” the Whitman ad’s announcer concludes before plugging Whitman’s illustrated jobs pamphlet.
Brown’s spokesman Sterling Clifford said the ad takes some of Brown’s remarks out of context and ignores the many plans that he executed as governor.
In remarks from the 1995 CNN appearance that are not included in Whitman’s ad, Brown said ‘the basis of the leadership today is deception and evasion. I really believe that and I can say that because I’m a recovering politician.”
In the 1996 clip, Brown was discussing the prospects of then-presidential candidate Steve Forbes after he was asked whether Forbes was “smoother” than he had been in presenting the issues.
“Well, he’s got a better smile. I’ll acknowledge that,” Brown responded, according to a transcript provided by the Brown campaign. “He’s got a magazine named after him. I did win -- beat Clinton in six primaries. But he’ll find out the flat tax is not enough. You need a real plan, something I’ll acknowledge I did not have, Forbes does not have, nor do I think either Clinton or Dole. There is a tremendous skepticism out there. People are looking for somebody they can trust who really knows what needs to be done and can communicate the sense that he’s about to do it.”
Clifford said Whitman’s ad overlooked the former governor’s achievements. “If you’re going to discuss Jerry Brown’s tenure as governor in the context of this race, what matters is what he accomplished,” he said. “If you look as his time as governor there are a dozen plans that were implemented,” Clifford said, mentioning Brown’s wind power generation plan.
Clifford added that Whitman was ignoring Brown’s proposal this cycle to create half a million clean energy jobs and said other proposals would be forthcoming. “You’ll see more of those things as the campaign goes on,” Clifford said. “I would rather release these plans one at a time and stick to them. …Meg Whitman has gone back on half the plans she released originally.”
-- Maeve Reston in Los Angeles