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Whitman launches first general election ad [Updated]

June 10, 2010 |  9:07 am

Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman wasted little time after her landslide win in the GOP primary, unveiling her first ad Thursday in her general-election battle with Democrat Jerry Brown. The 30-second television spot focuses on jobs and does not mention Brown.

“If we could only do one thing, putting people back to work would be the most important thing,” Whitman says in the ad, which begins with an image of a washed-out skyline and ends with vibrant shots of a thriving metropolis.

The full script is below.

[Updated at 12:02 p.m.: Brown's allies in labor slammed the ad. Steve Smith, spokesman for the California Labor Federation, called it “patently offensive” that Whitman, a billionaire, suggest that she understands working families’ struggles.

“Meg Whitman’s life of wealth and privilege means she’s never had to worry about losing her home, paying household bills or affording to put her kids through college,” he said in a written statement. “We need real solutions to the jobs crisis, not slick soundbites that fit neatly into a 30-second TV ad. And we certainly don't need a billionaire telling our state's unemployed that she understands the ‘human cost’ of joblessness.”]

Whitman began hammering Brown before the primary was officially decided, criticizing the former governor and current state attorney general as an example of what is wrong with Sacramento.

Political observers say that he must respond quickly to avoid following the path of Whitman’s primary rival, Steve Poizner. Whitman began advertising months before Poizner, shaping voter perceptions of both candidates so much that Poizner never recovered.

Brown “cannot afford to make the mistake that Steve Poizner made,” said Larry Gerston, a political science professor at San Jose State University. “He spent the rest of that time playing catch-up.”

Jack Pitney, a government professor at Claremont McKenna College and former GOP national official, agreed.

“The lesson of the campaign so far is that an early start is better,” he said. “Obviously, Jerry Brown needed to conserve his resources and didn’t want to spend a lot too early, but the fall campaign has started. If I was advising the Democrats I, would tell them to get into gear.”

Brown’s advertising plans are unclear, but some of his allies in the unions have prepared an ad against Whitman that they have said they plan to launch as soon as she airs her first ad.

Both candidates for the governor will take their message to voters Thursday. Whitman will headline a homecoming rally at the San Jose Tech Museum, while Brown will join the other Democratic candidates in touring a solar panel manufacturing plant in Fremont.

-- Seema Mehta in San Jose

The ad script of “One Thing”:

Meg Whitman: If we could only do one thing, putting people back to work would be the most important thing.

The human cost of 2 million Californians out of work is devastating.

And, I think, often politicians forget about that because they don’t see it every day. I see it every day.

I think raising taxes on Californians today is absolutely the wrong thing to do. We have to streamline regulations. We have to cut taxes for businesses. And then we have to stand up and compete.

California needs to lead the nation again. And I think we can do it.

Video: Television ad produced by the Meg Whitman campaign. Credit: Meg Whitman for Governor 2010 via YouTube

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