Brown ups ante on offer to end attack ads

Jerry Brown, going for the kill, is making maximum use out of the Matt Lauer proposition today.

The Democratic gubernatorial candidate upped the ante on the Today Show co-host’s request Tuesday at the California Women’s Conference that both campaigns drop their negative attacks for the remainder of the campaign.

Not only is Brown calling on Whitman to join him in going positive over the final six days, but he is also urging all third-party campaigns to drop their attack ads.

“Meg Whitman has had a full day to consult with her image makers and political handlers and it’s time for each of us to put our best foot forward and end this campaign on a high note,” Brown said.

“If Meg Whitman will join me in pledging to end the negative ads, all third party and independent expenditure groups should abide by the agreement and only run positive ads through Election Day.”

Below is an ad the Brown campaign released today, “Positive Finish,” to drive home the point.

It was a move made to order for Brown, given his widening lead in the polls —  the Los Angeles Times/USC poll had him up by 13 points over the weekend. Brown is fully mindful that Whitman’s only hope to pull out a victory is to intensify her attacks on him, but that by refusing to agree to a truce she only amplifies her own negatives.

Whitman, Brown said, has released 11 new TV attack ads over the last 15 days, in English and Spanish. He says they’ve distorted his record on jobs, taxes, spending, Proposition 13, pension reform, capital punishment, crime, campaign contributions, immigration and education.

Those ads have aired 80,000 times since the end of the primary, he said.

Whitman said Tuesday that there’s a distinction between character attacks that she’s endured and attacks on Brown’s record as governor and mayor of Oakland. She was booed by a large crowd of mostly women.

Whitman spokeswoman Andrea Rivera responded to Brown’s offer:

“Jerry Brown’s phony pledge is just what you would expect from a cynical career politician. Jerry Brown is hypocritically pledging to take down negative ads, while his allies are launching new negative spots at the very same time.  Jerry Brown and the public employee unions are running an around-the-clock character assault against Meg, and we’re supposed to buy this new ‘pledge’? It’s the height of hypocrisy.”

Here’s the full exchange Tuesday at the women’s conference:

Steven Harmon