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The State

2 Feinstein Ads Criticize Recall

September 03, 2003|Carla Hall | Times Staff Writer

In two new political ads set to begin airing today, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) denounces the recall campaign as a danger to the state's well-being and urges Californians to vote against it.

Although Feinstein criticizes the recall campaign as unfair to the current governor, no images of Gray Davis are shown and he is never mentioned by name. He is simply "the governor."

"Don't attach anything to that," said Feinstein on Tuesday, dismissing the absence of Davis' name from the two 30-second spots that she says she "pretty much" wrote herself. "It was just the way it came out. Everybody knows his name."

The ads show Feinstein speaking from her home in San Francisco, a well-stocked bookcase behind her, imploring viewers: "On the recall -- just say no."

The message, Feinstein said, is what the Davis campaign asked her to articulate -- and what she has spoken about from the beginning of the recall effort.

"The basic no-on-recall argument is that this is a misuse of recall in my view," she said. "This governor doesn't deserve it. There was no gross malfeasance."

In neither ad does Feinstein advise viewers on whether they should vote for any of the 135 candidates seeking to replace Davis. She has already said she does not plan to vote in the second part of the ballot.

Most Democratic leaders in the state are urging voters to support Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante on the second part of the ballot, but Feinstein does not mention Bustamante in the ads, and she declined comment on him Tuesday.

Last month, Feinstein said she considered Bustamante's entrance into the race an example of "opportunism." Referring to any Democrat who entered the race, she said at that time, "It's very hypocritical to say, 'Vote no on [the] recall but vote for me.' "

Asked about Davis' overall campaign, Feinstein said she thought his speech at UCLA last month, which was carried live on television, "looked a bit too orchestrated."

"I didn't care for that very much," she said.

She gave Davis higher marks for his more casual encounters with voters. "I liked his responses at town hall meetings much better," she said, noting she had seen video clips. "What I feel he's done very well is the spontaneous interview, the spontaneous Q and A, letting his heart out."

The Feinstein TV spots, produced by the advertising firm of Doak, Carrier, O'Donnell & Associates, based in Washington, D.C., are scheduled to air in the San Francisco, Los Angeles and Monterey areas. According to Larry Grisolano, a Davis campaign aide, the campaign has allotted $1 million for a week's worth of ads. He estimated that viewers in areas where the ads are running would see the spots seven or eight times.

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