Maybe there is some hope for California. Earlier this week the Cal Chamber of Commerce released what I called “as dishonest an attack ad as I’ve ever seen”, going after Jerry Brown with distortions and half-truths.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one outraged by the attack ads. Several Cal Chamber board members, including UC President Mark Yudof, denounced the ad, with Yudof saying “I want to make absolutely clear that I was not aware of this ad. I did not and do not approve of it.”
Jerry Brown and his campaign are now joining the battle. In the first aggressive move out of the Brown campaign, they called on the Cal Chamber to withdraw the “misleading” ad:
Jerry Brown Campaign Manager today called on the California Chamber of Commerce to withdraw its misleading ad attacking Jerry Brown. Within a day of the ad’s appearance, numerous Chamber Board members denied giving authorization to create it or Chamber dues to put it on the air….
Under the guise of an issue ad, the Chamber falsely ties Brown to job losses and budget shortfalls from the past two years, when California was led by a Republican governor. The ad hypocritically attacks Brown for his stance on Proposition 13, despite the Chamber endorsing Proposition 8, the alternative to 13, along with leaders like then-San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson, who now serves as Meg Whitman’s Campaign Chair.
“You would expect the Chamber to elevate the debate rather than perpetuate the mud slinging that has paralyzed Sacramento,” said Brown Campaign Manager Steven Glazer.
And on KGO radio this morning, Jerry Brown laid the blame for this attack at the feet of Cal Chamber board member, Meg Whitman advisor, and former California governor Pete Wilson, as Carla Marinucci reports:
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown slammed the CalChamber’s attack ads targeting him Thursday, saying they’re evidence that Chamber board member Pete Wilson — the former governor who chairs Meg Whitman’s campaign — “carries a real grudge, and he’s very much in this battle.”
“I don’t know what he did on the Chamber, but he certainly has a lot of friends there,” the State Attorney General said of Wilson and the CalChamber on KGO radio today. “And they cooked this thing up in a small little group — and the rest of the board members are pretty angry about it.”
This lame, misleading attack on Jerry Brown is not only backfiring badly on the right-wing Cal Chamber, but is giving Jerry Brown his first real campaign boost. After what can only best be described as a somnambulant campaign, the Cal Chamber attack ads appear to have finally woken up the Brown campaign and gotten them to show their teeth.
Let’s hope this is a sign of a newly active and assertive Brown campaign, and that the Cal Chamber will back off of its effort to distort and mislead Californians about Jerry Brown.