CALIFORNIA ELECTIONS ATTORNEY GENERAL : Smith TV Ad Attacks Reiner's Ethics, Ability


Seeking to knock out his better-known Democratic primary opponent with a flurry of last-minute jabs, state attorney general candidate Arlo Smith is taking to the airwaves this weekend with a television advertisement attacking the character and record of Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner.

The ad accuses Reiner of a variety of missteps, ranging from ethics violations to mishandling the McMartin Pre-School child molestation case.

The 30-second spot, which begins with the words "This is why Ira Reiner can't be attorney general," is Smith's only TV commercial of the campaign.

It was immediately attacked by the Reiner camp, which itself has been running a TV ad for the last week that belittles Smith's prosecution record during his tenure as San Francisco's district attorney.

Claiming Smith's spot "goes overboard in trying to slam Ira," Reiner campaign manager Sam Singer said: "I think people will have to keep their goggles on to keep the mud from splattering on their faces when this commercial plays on TV."

Smith's campaign manager, Marc Dann, defended his candidate's spot as "a response to the vicious attack (Reiner) launched--only we manage to do it within the bounds of truth."

Like a hard-charging prosecutor concluding his final argument to a jury, the voice of a paid narrator in the Smith ad launches a series of shots at Reiner as an array of newspaper headlines criticizing the Los Angeles district attorney swirl on the screen. The spot concludes by identifying Smith as a long-time prosecutor and proponent of the death penalty.

In the final days before Tuesday's election, both Smith and Reiner have been throwing virtually all of their resources into TV ads. The Reiner camp has purchased more than $500,000 in TV time and Reiner will spend the weekend "attending fund-raisers and dialing for dollars" to help pay for more air time, according to Singer.

Dann would not specify how much Smith is spending. A statewide 35,000-member police lobbying group, the Peace Officers Research Assn. of California, is spending $35,000 on a radio ad endorsing Smith.

The winner of the hard-fought Democratic primary will face Republican Dan Lungren, a former congressman, in the fall election.

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