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Whitman uses Bill Clinton sound bite in new ad attack on Jerry Brown

September 9, 2010 | 10:12 am

Meg Whitman has enlisted a new spokesman in her attacks on Jerry Brown -- former President Bill Clinton.

In a new ad hitting the airwaves today, Whitman uses footage from a 1992 presidential primary debate between Clinton and Brown.

"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.

Bad feelings between Clinton and Brown seem to linger nearly 20 years after that campaign. Last year, Clinton took the unusual step of endorsing Brown's then-rival, Gavin Newsom, in the governor's race. Clinton has not yet announced his support for Brown.

You can watch the new ad below.

Meanwhile, Brown is up with his first radio ad of the campaign. Brown's new ad makes no mention of Whitman, focusing instead on his record as governor.

"As governor, I was known for frugality. I thought if people were cutting back, government should too," Brown says in the ad. "By making the tough decisions now, we can get California back on track."

-- Anthony York in Sacramento