Tuesday, September 2, 2003

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — In his first paid TV ads of the recall campaign, Gov. Gray Davis has left it to a far more popular California Democrat to plead his case — Sen. Dianne Feinstein, his one-time rival.

The two Davis campaign commercials, previewed for reporters yesterday, do not mention the governor by name, and each shows only one, tiny photo of Mr. Davis, which appears briefly at the bottom of the screen.

In the ads, Mrs. Feinstein urges voters to turn down the recall and let the governor continue to do his job.

“The governor deserves the chance to keep working on issues we care about, like education, health care and important new privacy legislation,” Mrs. Feinstein says in one ad. “This governor was elected just last November,” she says in the other. In both ads, she warns that a recall would lead to instability and uncertainty.

Davis campaign director Steve Smith said he doubts the governor’s name had been left out of the ads deliberately. He said Mrs. Feinstein had written the scripts and wanted to present the case in her words.

“This was the senator essentially talking about why she’s against the recall,” Mr. Smith said. “It certainly wasn’t a conscious decision on our part; I doubt it was a conscious decision on hers.”

The commercials, set to debut in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Monterey today, will be part of an initial $1 million purchase of ad time.

Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, running to replace Mr. Davis if he is recalled, has spent about $1.4 million on campaign commercials — the only other candidate to put any significant amount into TV ads.

Mr. Schwarzenegger yesterday called for a clampdown on illegal immigrants and criticized Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante for accusations that the Austrian-born actor is anti-immigrant.

“What he doesn’t understand is that people like myself waited 15 years to get citizenship,” Mr. Schwarzenegger said. “There are people who have been waiting 20 years. I find it unfair to all of a sudden push the whole thing with undocumented immigrants and say they should immediately get citizenship.”

The film star told Los Angeles radio station KFI 640-AM that he wanted stricter controls and beefed-up patrols on the U.S. border with Mexico. He said he also was against pending Democrat-backed legislation to give California driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.

Opponents of the bill say it would allow illegal immigrants to vote, encourage others to follow them, and give an opening to terrorists seeking to avoid background checks.

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