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Tom McClintock

September 27, 2003

State Sen. Tom McClintock's campaign committee announced Friday that it was launching its fourth television spot of the campaign, a 30-second advertisement that would run in the San Diego, Fresno, Bakersfield, Sacramento and Los Angeles markets. The campaign plans to spend $500,000.

Title: The Promise

Producer: Coyote Films

The Script: The screen shows images of the California Capitol and then McClintock walking into the Senate chambers as an announcer says: "Ask yourself what it takes to be governor of California.... " The word "honesty" crawls across the screen as the scene dissolves to a newspaper headline reading "McClintock Takes Duties Seriously." The scene switches to McClintock, wearing a dark blue suit and bright red tie, speaking at a podium as music swells and a state flag is shown fluttering in the breeze. The word "integrity" crawls across the screen as McClintock can be heard saying: "This can be the moment when we roll back the taxes and the regulations that are destroying our economy. That we restore our public works.... " The scene shifts to McClintock talking on the phone and walking amid cheering supporters at a rally as the word "experience" crawls across the screen. The announcer says, "Tom McClintock stands for something. Now ask yourself, who really has what it takes?" The scene shifts again to McClintock standing at a podium as the word "McClintock" crawls across the screen. McClintock says: "Here's my commitment to you: I will cut spending and balance the budget without raising taxes. And that is a promise." The camera cuts to a close-up profile of McClintock as the announcer says, "Only a governor named Tom McClintock," while the same words are superimposed across the screen.

Accuracy: McClintock promises to cut spending and balance the budget without raising taxes. But if elected, he will have to work with a Legislature that is dominated by Democrats, who have fought to avoid deep cuts in public services. He also vows to "restore public works." McClintock does not specify what public works he is talking about. And it's unclear how he would pay for this at the same time he is trying to balance the budget. He said taxes and regulations are "destroying our economy." But the state tax rate is lower now than it has been in at least a decade. In 2000, California ranked 19th out of the 50 states in terms of tax burden, according to a study by the Federation of Tax Administrators.

Analysis: The ad appears to be aimed at showcasing McClintock as a principled, serious politician. The words "honesty," "integrity" and "experience" flash across the screen. Ads for his chief Republican rival, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, have shown the candidate in informal settings, such as casually talking to voters at a restaurant. By contrast, McClintock is shown in suit and tie, walking in the Capitol and addressing voters at a podium. The focus on experience appears to be an attempt to contrast him to Schwarzenegger, who has never held public office.

Compiled by Times Staff Writer Monte Morin

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