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Ad Watch

Gov. Gray Davis' campaign committee Tuesday launched its fifth television spot of the campaign, a 30-second advertisement that will air initially in the San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, Chico and Bakersfield markets.

September 24, 2003

Title: "Plus"

Producer: Doak, Carrier, O'Donnell & Associates

The script: The words "If 50% plus 1 vote 'yes' on the recall" appear on a white background as an announcer reads those words. The picture then shifts to photographs of some of the 135 candidates seeking to replace Davis, followed by a shot of the state Capitol as the announcer says, "then one of these people will become governor almost immediately -- with little time for a transition, little time to assemble a cabinet." The next scene shows a spinning globe covered with mug shots of the replacement candidates alongside the words "135 candidates" as the announcer says, "With 135 candidates, whoever finishes first will have only a minority behind them -- as few as 15%." Then the announcer reads these words, which also appear on screen as questions posed against a black background: "Who will finish first? Will they be qualified?" A collage of scenes appears overlaid with the words "Up to running the 5th-largest economy in the world?" -- a question the announcer repeats. "Whoever takes over, the hard feelings and political chaos may get even worse. Vote 'no' on the recall," the announcer says as the spot closes with an aerial shot of the Capitol and the words "Vote no on the recall."

Accuracy: Davis will be removed from office if he loses the recall by 50% plus one. If that occurs, the election will be certified in 39 days or less, and the replacement governor will be sworn in, resulting in a transition period about half the usual length after a gubernatorial election. With several major candidates in the race, experts expect that any winner of the contest to replace Davis probably would receive fewer than 40% of the votes cast. A victory with only 15% is theoretically possible but unlikely. Many politicians expect that hard feelings could follow a recall, although that is speculative.

Analysis: As with many of his ads in the recall campaign, this one does not mention Davis. It is aimed at sowing doubts in the minds of voters about the wisdom -- and repercussions -- of a successful recall. All of Davis' English-language ads focus on the possible negative results of a recall while avoiding discussion of the governor or his record.

Compiled by Times staff writer Gregg Jones

Los Angeles Times

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