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THE RECALL CAMPAIGN | AD WATCH

Arnold Schwarzenegger

September 06, 2003

Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign, Californians for Schwarzenegger, released its first two radio advertisements Thursday. The campaign said the ads would air statewide. The second of the two ads, "Register," will run on FM radio stations that don't usually carry political spots in an effort to woo "nontraditional voters" as part of a voter registration campaign. Campaign aides would not disclose how long the ads would run.

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Producer: Don Sipple, Sipple Strategic Communications

Title: "Tax"

Script: With dramatic music playing in the background, the first speaker introduces himself: "This is John Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. Twenty-five years ago, we sent the politicians a message with Proposition 13. This year we can send another message by recalling Gray Davis and replacing him with Arnold Schwarzenegger, a strong fiscal conservative. He will repeal the car tax and stand against more taxes."

Schwarzenegger then breaks in: "I strongly support Proposition 13 and will fight any proposal which seeks to change it. I am in principle against taxing, because I feel that the people of California have been punished enough. From the time they get up in the morning, they go and get coffee, they're taxed; they get into their car, they're taxed; they go to the gas station, they're taxed. And this goes on all day long. Tax, tax, tax, tax, tax."

Coupal then says: "In Sacramento, where too many say yes to taxes, Arnold is a strong fiscal conservative who will say no. This is Jon Coupal. Join me in supporting Arnold Schwarzenegger for governor. And let's bring California back."

An announcer concludes: "Paid for by Californians for Schwarzenegger."

Accuracy: Schwarzenegger received the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. endorsement last week after a slow start with tax-cutters. Early in his campaign, the co-chairman of Schwarzenegger's economic team, Warren E. Buffett, criticized Proposition 13 and suggested that Californians pay too little in property taxes. Schwarzenegger repudiated those remarks. Schwarzenegger has said he would repeal the car tax by executive order and prevent new taxes, but his stand on the latter is not ironclad. He has said he could raise taxes in the event of an earthquake, terrorist attack or some other disaster. Gas and cars are taxed, and coffee is subject to sales tax.

Analysis: The ad reflects some of the critical dilemmas of Schwarzenegger's campaign. He is trying to use his antipathy to taxes -- and support of groups like the Jarvis association -- to appeal to conservatives while also reaching out to independents and disaffected Democrats in mostly Democratic California. It is a difficult balancing act, and Schwarzenegger has recently leaned to the right, as he does in this ad. On the policy front, Schwarzenegger's promise to roll back the car tax and keep other taxes low would reduce his flexibility in balancing the state's budget. He says he would do that with spending cuts, but says he would not identify those cuts until after he is elected.

Title: "Register"

Script: An announcer says: "Arnold Schwarzenegger," followed by Schwarzenegger saying: "On Oct. 7, we the people of California have the opportunity to send a message to the political establishment that we want action and we want change. So I need your help. You need to be registered to vote by Sept. 22 in order to vote in this historic election. For details on how to register and get absentee ballots, go to my Web site, joinarnold.com. Thank you." The announcer concludes: "Paid for by Californians for Schwarzenegger."

Accuracy: The first sentence of the ad reflects the mantra of Schwarzenegger's political strategists, including ad producer Don Sipple, that the recall election is a choice between "change and more of the same." Schwarzenegger states the correct registration deadline for those who want to vote on Oct. 7. Registration is now available online.

Analysis: The Schwarzenegger campaign is eager to get votes from his movie fans, who tend to be young and male and in many cases not registered. After a slow start, the campaign has recently begun emphasizing voter registration, including a volunteer effort to register voters that will rely on Hollywood personalities and health club owners. The campaign is also working with the California Republican Party's voter registration program.

Compiled by Times staff writer Joe Mathews

Los Angeles Times

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