ABORTION: Davis Runs TV Ad Attacking Lungren’s Stance
"For the first time," Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Gray Davis ran a television commercial attacking opponent state Attorney General Dan Lungren (R) for his abortion stand, an issue "polls suggest is Lungren's most vulnerable." The AP/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports that in the ad, Davis says: "I'm pro-choice, my opponent is not. In Congress, he sponsored legislation to outlaw abortion, even in cases of rape and incest." Davis characterizes the abortion issue as "one of the most important differences in this election." He says: "I think a decision this personal is best made by a woman, in concert with her doctor and her own conscience. And I trust a woman to make that decision. As governor, I'll fight to make sure women have that choice." Lungren "insists" that while he did cosponsor several "human life amendments" as a congressman that did not include exceptions for rape or incest, "he has always supported such exceptions." His only alternative, he said, "was to cast his lot with bills that did not oppose abortion."
Garry South, Davis' campaign director, said that although Davis leads by 9% to 12% in the polls, he ran the spot in response to Lungren's "ludicrous attempt to make this a character campaign." The Daily Bulletin reports that in recent weeks, Lungren has been criticizing Davis for his close association with President Clinton, and for defending him through his troubles. South said Lungren "has been lying about" his abortion votes "since day one -- not shading the truth, lying about it -- and our view is that has something to do with character." He also said, "Most women I've seen say that (Lungren's position on abortion) is a character issue." But Lungren campaign manager Dave Puglia "questioned the timing of Davis' abortion ad." He said, "As the Clinton scandal begins to overwhelm Gray Davis' candidacy, Davis is deliberately misrepresenting beliefs on this sensitive issue in a desperate attempt to change the subject" (Lindlaw, 9/15).