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THE RECALL CAMPAIGN

TV Ad to Focus on Schwarzenegger, Women

A campaign aide says he doubts the effort by an organizer for liberal causes will sway voters.

October 04, 2003|Joel Rubin | Times Staff Writer

A political action committee that has served as an organizer for liberal causes plans to spend $500,000 over the next few days on a television commercial accusing Arnold Schwarzenegger of treating women poorly.

The ad, the first of the campaign to raise the issue of Schwarzenegger and women, comes after several women stepped forward to allege that the Republican actor groped or made unwanted sexual advances toward them. As images of women flash across the screen, a narrator claims, "If you're a woman, or your mother is a woman, or your wife or your daughter or your sister ... then you can not vote for this man. Because Arnold Schwarzenegger has a serious problem with women."

MoveOn.org officials said they raised the money for the ads over the last few days through Internet solicitations. Although the group publicly declared its opposition to the recall several weeks ago, organizers said they decided to make the anti-Schwarzenegger ad this week after polls indicated a commanding lead for the Republican candidate.

"This week a lot changed radically," said Carrie Olson, MoveOn.org's chief operating officer, "and it seemed right for us to get involved."

Schwarzenegger campaign spokesman Rob Stutzman expressed skepticism that Move On.org produced the ad over the last few days. "It is clearly an ad they had in the can waiting to go," Stutzman said. "It is further evidence of a coordinated attack against Arnold Schwarzenegger." Stutzman took issue with the content of the ad, and said he doubts it will sway voters. "The voters can decide for themselves based on the information before them whether there is any validity to this ridiculous claim," he said.

MoveOn.org, which several years ago led a national Internet-based push to have President Clinton censured rather than impeached, bills itself as a grass-roots organization that uses the Internet to spark political activism. The group's founder, Wes Boyd, said he originally had expected to raise $250,000 for the Schwarzenegger ad. But the group decided to double its efforts after news reports about the allegations against him.

"This is an emergency," the group e-mailed to its members. "Polls in California show Schwarzenegger pulling ahead, while the truth about his character is only now starting to get out. We have just a few days to make sure everyone in California knows who this man is."

As it scrambled to buy air time, the group said it hastily produced the spot on Thursday and sent it off to television stations that night.

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