The governor took his campaign directly to Bay Area viewers yesterday
as part of an unscripted Walnut Creek forum, reports Carla Marinucci and Mark Martin in the Chronicle. "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
, in his first in-depth televised appeal to California voters, delivered an unusually aggressive defense against millions of dollars worth of attacks from unions Monday, seeking to portray himself as an independent leader 'fighting for the people' with his Nov. 8 special election agenda."
"'I'm not to the right, I'm not to the left; I'm the people's representative,' said the governor, on stage Monday before an audience of 280 at the Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. 'Let's give the power back to the people ... not let the politicians go in the back room, slap each other on the back and smoke a stogie.
The back tent, however, would still be within limits.
"And, taking the stage after his opponents -- state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata
, D-Oakland, and Rose Ann DeMoro
, executive director of the California Nurses Association -- [the governor] largely succeeded in overshadowing them
"Schwarzenegger also promised that next year, he would campaign for efforts to require that corporations obtain shareholder permission before using profits for political purposes."
"'I did not sponsor this particular initiative,' he said. 'Next year, when the other one comes on the ballot, I also will support that.'"
Dan Walters analyzes the governor's performance
: "Schwarzenegger's strong performance left those professional observers wondering whether, despite his low standing in the polls, he may be finally making the cogent case for reform that he had failed to articulate during months of cheesy media events and campaign miscues."
The Bee's Dan Weintraub agrees
. "If the governor is smart, he’ll barnstorm the state and do them in every city. Most voters haven’t seen Schwarzenegger since the campaign, other than in brief snips on the news. They’ve seen and heard him portrayed as an ogre, a bully, an idiot
. But his command of the issues is far better than it was two years ago, and he can articulately make his case for his measures, even in the face of tough questions
from voters who disagree with him."
The Bee's Gary Delsohn writes that the format, which separated Schwarzenegger from his opponents in segments keeping them from sharing the stage
, "infuriated his foes, who called it 'just another Schwarzenegger performance.'"
"'He defined all the rules before we got started,' said Gale Kaufman
, the lead political strategist for the campaign against Schwarzenegger's special election initiatives. 'He got to do another show, which he's very good at, but that's all it was. Nothing more than showmanship.'"
"'It was a great night for the governor. It was a great night for reform,' Mike Murphy
, Schwarzenegger's chief campaign strategist, crowed to reporters afterward. "The challenge of our campaign has been to get our message through the fog of lies and misinformation put out by the other side."
"'Bring on the town halls. This format works very well for the governor, and we're going to do them across the state.
Capitol Weekly's Shane Goldmacher reports the governor will tape an hour-long show today at Univision
. But the Univision appearance has Democrats charging it is just another gift from one of the governor's largest donors
"That's what $3 million buys you," said Steve Maviglio
, a spokesman for the Alliance for a Better California. "It is another clear indication of favors going back in forth between the governor and his contributor."
The governor will appear at another town hall in Fresno on Friday, "with Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante
scheduled to represent the opposition to Schwarzenegger. Other events are planned for Sacramento and Los Angeles, campaign officials said."
Now that they found someone shorter than the governor, can they both be on stage at the same time?
The Bee gives the treatment to--or, more accurately, skewers--PhRMA's latest ad blasting Proposition 79
, and finds "This ad tells voters almost nothing about what Proposition 79 would actually do and it presents an incomplete picture of the legal changes that the measure would make.
"The ad also suggests that trial lawyers -- or consumer attorneys, as they call themselves -- are backing Proposition 79. In fact, no group representing the legal profession has taken an official stance on the measure."
Meanwhile, Joe Canciamilla
came out in support of Proposition 77
, the redistricting measure. "'The only way we're going to be able to get electoral reform is through the initiative process,' said Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla, D-Pittsburg. 'If we fail in this effort, we are providing a mandate for those who want to keep the status quo.'"
Apparently, supporting your wife's succession to your Assembly seat
is not supporting the status quo.
Just in case you thought that November 8 would close the political season, an intense battle is taking shape to stop the execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams
, the Crips co-founder who has been on death row after being convicted of four murders 24 years ago. A judge has set December 13 as the execution date and all appeals have been exhausted, reports Henry Weinstein in the Times.
"No California governor since Ronald Reagan
has granted clemency in a death penalty case."
"But a coalition of religious leaders and opponents of the death penalty argue that Williams' case is exceptional. Over the last decade, he has published several children's books urging disadvantaged youths to avoid gangs and violence. He has been nominated for a Nobel Prize and last year was the subject of a favorable television movie 'Redemption: The Stan 'Tookie' Williams Story.'"
From our Photo-Ops Gone Bad
Files, the Daily News reports on Antonio Villaraigosa
's close call on an LA subway
. "Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was taking his first ride Monday on the Metro Orange Line to promote safety around the busway when suddenly the driver hit the brakes, narrowly avoiding a motorist who apparently ran a red light at Kester Avenue."