Brown strikes back with negative ad of his own


Many protesters, mostly union members, were at the Hyatt to protest outside the event and protest against Whitman's run.

The race is turning decidedly negative. Jerry Brown's campaign has released its first attack ads against Meg Whitman.

Brown's ad says: "Newspapers report the claims in this Meg Whitman ad are false and she knows it."

The ad is in response to a Whitman campaign ad featuring former President Bill Clinton from a 1992 debate when Brown and Clinton were running for president.

Whitman's ad features Clinton saying, "CNN, not me, CNN says his assertion about his tax record was 'just plain wrong.'"

FACT CHECK: Clinton's assertion is wrong.

The CNN reporter that Clinton relied on says he miscalculated and that overall, taxes went down during Brown's tenure as governor, but Whitman is defending her ad.

"And the fact is Jerry Brown is not a tax cutter," says Whitman.

Whitman points that taxes went up during most of Brown's tenure as governor, that's true, but they went down by so much in the final two years that overall, his term saw a tax decrease.

ABC7 political analyst Bruce Cain, Ph.D., says that fact undercuts the Whitman message.

"An effective ad has to be accurate and this was not accurate. I mean even CNN, the source of that information, says it was wrong," says Cain.

Brown's campaign is now attempting to undo the damage, but in choosing to go negative both sides are setting up a dynamic.

"Basically the candidates get stuck in a downward spiral because if one person goes negative then the other person is almost compelled to go negative in order to counter what the first person says," says Cain.

And that, says Cain, leads to personal attacks instead of expounding on the issues.

"It just creates this vortex that leads to ultimately a lot of people staying away at the polls and feeling like the election has nothing to do with solving the problems of California," says Cain.

It may not turn out that way, since there is still a month and a half to go, but the campaign sure is shaping up to be a negative one.

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