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THE RECALL CAMPAIGN | AD WATCH

Arnold Schwarzenegger

October 03, 2003

Arnold Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial campaign, Californians for Schwarzenegger, is releasing three new television advertisements for the final days of the recall campaign. All three ads convey positive messages about the actor-turned-candidate, and all three will air statewide. One of the ads is in Spanish, the other two are in English. Schwarzenegger media advisor Don Sipple of Sipple Strategic Communications produced the ads. The campaign did not say how much it was spending on the ads.

Title: "Rudy"

Script: Former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani speaks directly to the camera throughout the 15-second ad, with a brief visual of Schwarzenegger talking to supporters spliced into the middle. "Sometimes history thrusts upon people roles they never thought they would have," Giuliani says. "I have known Arnold Schwarzenegger for many years. He is determined and decisive. In times of challenge, strong leadership makes the difference. I hope California will seize the moment and make Arnold governor."

Accuracy: The claims are so broad that it is hard to determine their accuracy. Schwarzenegger and Giuliani do know each other. They are both Republicans and Schwarzenegger has been attending Republican national conventions since 1984, when Giuliani was working for the Reagan administration. Schwarzenegger's "determined" nature is evident from his life and career as a successful movie actor, but he is untested as a decision-maker in government.

Analysis: The ad seeks to capitalize on Giuliani's popularity with the American public because of his response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The former mayor's comment that "sometimes history thrusts upon people roles they never thought they would have" is an unmistakable reference to Giuliani's role as a national spokesman in the days after the attacks. "Times of challenge" also appears to be a reference to Sept. 11. One of the voters' questions about Schwarzenegger is experience and how he would run the state, and Giuliani is vouching for him as a person capable of handling any challenge. Giuliani is a friend of former Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Simon Jr., who worked with Giuliani in the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office. Simon endorsed Schwarzenegger last week, and this ad probably reflects Simon's connection.

Title: "Momentum"

Script: On a white screen, the words appear, "It's happening ... " and a male announcer says, "You can feel it." Images of Schwarzenegger with supporters appear on the screen. A young woman is shown, saying: "Arnold is the poster child for the American dream. And that's inspiring. That's inspiring to everybody." The announcer speaks again, with more clips of Schwarzenegger at rallies, shaking hands, "An extraordinary man at one with the people. A governor for the people for change. In this historic election, we can send a message to those in power that the ultimate power still rests in the hands of the people." A graphic at the ad's conclusion says "VOTE ON TUESDAY. Paid for by Californians for Schwarzenegger."

Accuracy: Once again, the ad makes broad claims. Schwarzenegger has campaigned as a populist, though he also employs an experienced campaign team, many of them Sacramento insiders with ties to former Gov. Pete Wilson. The ad also reflects the candidate's gain in recent polls. He had an eight-point lead in a Times poll released this week.

Analysis: Officials of Schwarzenegger's campaign believe the election is theirs to lose. In this ad, and others expected to run in the final days before the Oct. 7 vote, they seek to strike a positive message. Gone are mentions of other candidates or attacks on contributions from Indian tribes to Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and Sen. Tom McClintock -- a centerpiece of Schwarzenegger's ads last week.

Title: None

Script: With a montage of campaign shots on screen, an announcer says in Spanish, "Like so many of us, Arnold came to this country with hopes of living the American dream: to have better jobs and wages, a better education for our children, to own our own homes, and businesses with equal opportunity for a better life. Arnold is campaigning for governor to help us realize this dream. Vote for Arnold and return California to our families for a better future."

Accuracy: Schwarzenegger came to the United States with the help of a bodybuilding promoter to pursue a bodybuilding career. He had already won a Mr. Universe title, and his experience, as recounted by Schwarzenegger in interviews and his autobiography, was very different from that of many Spanish-speaking immigrants apparently targeted in the ad. At the same time, Schwarzenegger has said he stayed in California because of its freedom and opportunity, and he has consistently maintained he is running for governor to "give something back."

Analysis: The ad reflects the strategy of most front-runners in the late stages of a campaign: stay positive. The ad also continues a Schwarzenegger strategy of highlighting his immigrant roots to appeal to Latinos -- while leaving out his views that might be less popular, such as his opposition to a law that gives illegal immigrants the right to hold driver's licenses.

Compiled by Times staff writer Joe Mathews

Los Angeles Times

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