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Palin robocalls aimed at boosting Fiorina

June 7, 2010 |  7:03 pm
As rumored, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whose endorsement gave former Hewlett-Packard chief Carly Fiorina a boost in the Republican campaign for the U.S. Senate nomination, gave her some more help Monday: a recorded call that went out to 650,000 likely Republican voters in California, according to Fiorina spokeswoman Julie Soderlund.

Here is what Palin had to say:

“Hi. This is Sarah Palin calling for the Carly for California campaign. I’m calling to ask you to vote for Carly Fiorina, the commonsense conservative running for United States Senate. You know thankfully Carly is not a career politician. She’s a businesswoman who knows from personal experience that when government grows, the private sector shrinks. Carly is the conservative who has the best chance to beat liberal Sen. Barbara Boxer. And she’s running against a liberal Republican who really isn’t much different than Boxer. Come on, help get our country back on track by electing Carly Fiorina to the United States Senate. Please be sure to vote on Tuesday. And thank you so much for your time.”

Thus far this campaign season, Palin’s record of success is mixed. Polls show Fiorina leading her two rivals, former Rep. Tom Campbell, a social moderate, and Irvine Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, a hard-core conservative, so Tuesday may bring another victory for Palin.

For campaign trivia buffs, according to the Fiorina campaign, the two women never crossed paths on the campaign trail in 2008, when Palin was Sen. John McCain’s running mate and Fiorina was his chief economic adviser. When the Fiorina campaign sought Palin’s endorsement, the discussion was between the two teams. Fiorina’s campaign manager, Marty Wilson, said Monday that the pair are “in communication now.”

Meanwhile, the DeVore campaign, which tried hard to erode the Fiorina money advantage with a steady flow of negative claims about her, alleges the calls violate the California Public Utilities Commission’s rules on robocalls, which require that they be preceded by a live human being before the recording starts and only be placed to people who agree to them beforehand. Here are the rules.

And for those whose phones have been ringing off the hook in the last week, here is a 2008 Los Angeles Times story on how the law is widely flouted…particularly at election time.

DeVore’s spokesman, Joshua Trevino, said DeVore has never used robocalls and pointed out that violating the code calls for a $500 fine. “Carly Fiorina has lost that much in Krugerrands under her couch cushions,” Trevino said. “She's happy to take the hit and get away with a petty illegality in the furtherance of her ambition.”

The Fiorina campaign said the law is an “arcane state regulation” and does not apply to a federal race such as this. It also says that DeVore is desperate.

But Trevino sent along this story which supports his contention that Fiorina’s calls are subject to the California PUC regulations.

-- Robin Abcarian and Maeve Reston

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