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Cruz Bustamante

Cruz Bustamante

September 24, 2003

Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante began running his fourth campaign commercial Tuesday, the first in which he criticized Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. The ad is being broadcast statewide as part of a $2-million buy this week, his campaign said.

Title: "Planet Hollywood"

Producer: Joaquin Ross

Script: Like his previous ads, the commercial features Bustamante speaking at a rally in Fresno in front of a cheering crowd of more than 2,000 people.

"Arnold doesn't share our values," the lieutenant governor says. "He won't fight for our health care, our neighborhoods, our jobs. He doesn't live in our world. He lives on Planet Hollywood.

"There is a long list of candidates. Finding my name won't be easy. But I need you to do it. Because I need your vote for governor."

Accuracy: The commercial makes broad generalizations about Schwarzenegger that are difficult to substantiate. Bustamante's campaign strategist Richie Ross said Schwarzenegger's opposition to a new law that will require businesses to provide health insurance for employees demonstrates that he would not help more people get health care. Opponents of the bill, however, say that many businesses cannot afford to provide the coverage. It is true that Schwarzenegger is a wealthy movie star. He was at one time an investor in the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain along with several other celebrities. He has demonstrated an understanding of some of the challenges faced by the working class, however, such as a recent initiative he backed to provide more after-school programs.

Analysis: The ad is part of an ongoing effort by Bustamante to cast himself as an average Californian and Schwarzenegger as an out-of-touch movie star. The lieutenant governor hopes to persuade voters that Schwarzenegger would not be a good governor because he has been insulated in a Hollywood lifestyle. The criticism of Schwarzenegger comes as the recall election heads into its final two weeks and polls show support for the two top candidates split about evenly.

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Compiled by Times staff writer Matea Gold

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