LOS ANGELES — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown ripped Republican rival Meg Whitman on Thursday for what he called cynical and misleading Spanish-language advertising, one day after a poll showed Whitman doing well with Latino voters.
"The people aren't fooled," Brown said at a news conference behind the student union at California State University, Los Angeles, flanked by 14 Latino lawmakers and other leaders.
After being pulled to the right on immigration by Republican rival Steve Poizner in the GOP primary — alienating some Latino voters, experts said — Whitman started her general election campaign by advertising heavily on Spanish-language radio and TV, trumpeting her opposition to Arizona's immigration law and to Proposition 187, the 1994 ballot measure to limit state services to illegal immigrants.
Whitman's campaign announced Thursday that it was expanding its Latino outreach, putting up Spanish-language ads on billboards and bus stops in Southern California and the Central Valley. One reads in Spanish, "NO on Proposition 187 and NO on the Arizona Law."
Her rhetoric has softened substantially since the primary, when she used former Gov. Pete Wilson, her campaign chairman and a major supporter of Proposition 187, to help convince Republicans that Whitman would be tough on immigration.
Brown said "fancy, cynical 30-second" commercials would not solve the state's problems. His supporters, mostly Democratic lawmakers from Los Angeles, said Latino voters would not be won over by Whitman's ads. They characterized Brown as an advocate for immigrants and farmworkers and Whitman as a candidate tied to Wilson and Proposition 187.
"Jerry Brown broke bread with Cesar Chavez," U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra said. "His opponent breaks bread with Pete Wilson."
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