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PolitiCal Flashback: Meg Whitman uses Bill Clinton to attack Jerry Brown

November 2, 2010 | 11:45 am

Bill clinton
With the California governor's race in its final hours, PolitiCal will look back throughout the day at some of the key moments in this year's historic contest for governor and some of the other races on the November ballot.

As polls showed a close race for California governor, Meg Whitman launched her best ad of the campaign -- using clips from former President Clinton attacking Jerry Brown in a 1992 debate. Brown ran against Clinton in that year's presidential race, and Clinton blasted Brown for what he said were personal attacks against his wife, Hillary.

"He raised taxes as governor of California," Clinton says. "He had a surplus when he took office and a deficit when he left. He doesn't tell the people the truth."

Brown's campaign spokesman, Sterling Clifford, said it was Whitman who has a problem telling the truth. "CNN's numbers were wrong 20 years ago, and they haven't gotten less wrong," he said. "Jerry Brown cut taxes by $4 billion, not including Prop. 13. Meg Whitman hasn't told the truth since this campaign started, and quoting someone else doesn't make what she says true."

The ad underscores a key point of the campaign -- if Whitman has any hope of beating Brown in November, she's going to need support from Democrats. Democrats have a 45%-31% registration advantage over Republicans in the state. About 20% of the state's voters are registered as independents.

Brown's campaign scrambled when the ad was launched, responding with its first negative ad of the campaign, which portrayed Whitman as Pinocchio.

Days after the ad was launched, Clinton publicly endorsed Brown. In October, the former president appeared with Brown at a pair of rallies -- one at UCLA, another at San Jose State University.


Meg Whitman: No regrets about record spending

Schwarzenegger won't say if he voted for Whitman or Brown

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

Photo:  Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (L) talks to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown at a rally at San Jose State University in San Jose, California in this October 17, 2010 file photograph.  Credit: REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/Files

Photos: California heads to the polls

Photos: The nation heads to the polls