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The Recall Campaign

Ad Watch

Cruz Bustamante

October 01, 2003

Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante is running two new television commercials, the last of the new ads his campaign said he will put on the air. One ad advocating the defeat of Proposition 54 features former President Bill Clinton. The second commercial specifically asks Californians to vote for Bustamante. Both began airing last week. The size of the ad purchase was not available.

Title: "Clinton/Prop. 54"

Producer: Joaquin Ross

Script: "Proposition 54 is bad for California's health," an announcer says over images of Clinton and Bustamante shaking hands with students at a school in Compton. "President Bill Clinton helped Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, who is campaigning hard against Proposition 54. The Los Angeles Times quotes Cruz Bustamante saying, 'Proposition 54 is an attack on our health-care system and must be defeated.' Join Cruz Bustamante, California's nurses and doctors in voting against Proposition 54."

Accuracy: The effect Proposition 54 would have on health care is unclear. The ballot initiative would prohibit the state from gathering many forms of data on the race and ethnicity of Californians, and many medical officials say it would hamper efforts to study how diseases affect different populations. Supporters of the initiative say the wording of the measure would exempt health-care issues. It is true that Clinton attended a fund-raiser for Bustamante when he was in Los Angeles last month.

Title: "College"

Producer: Joaquin Ross

Script: An announcer says: "After voting 'no' on the recall, you have the right and responsibility to vote for a candidate for governor." Bustamante, joined by his wife and two of his daughters, stands in his kitchen and says: "Over 123,000 students are being forced out of our community colleges. Their fees are going up. Their classes are being cut. That's not the kind of California that our parents left us. Our colleges should be open to every qualified student. I'd appreciate your consideration as you vote for governor."

Accuracy: According to an analysis by the Community College League of California, projected enrollment in the state's 108 community colleges is expected to drop by 123,000 because of the recent 60% increase in fees. However, other education analysts say the number could be as low as 30,000, adding that it is difficult to determine exactly how many students would be affected.

Analysis: As the recall election heads into the homestretch, Bustamante is clearly trying to link himself with Clinton, who is hugely popular among Democrats. The lieutenant governor has made his opposition to Proposition 54 and community college fee increases central messages of his candidacy, hoping to appeal to the party's rank-and-file voters. By featuring him in his kitchen, the commercial is part of an ongoing effort to portray him as a down-to-earth person.

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Compiled by Times staff writer Matea Gold

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