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Brown Goes on Offense in California House Race

Responding to a pointed attack this week from state Sen. Tom McClintock (R) in the race for California’s open 4th district seat, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Charlie Brown (D) went up Thursday with one television ad and two radio spots — the television ad featuring his wife, Jan, discussing what it’s like to be a military wife and the radio spots hitting McClintock for his record as a career politician.

Brown’s television ad, running district-wide on broadcast and cable, appears designed to inoculate himself from McClintock’s charge that the former Air Force officer is in league with anti-war protesters and a friend of left-leaning groups such as CODEPINK in a House district that is among the most conservative in the country. The ad opens with Brown’s wife talking about what it’s like to have a son serving in the Iraq war.

One day earlier, McClintock unveiled a radio ad that hit Brown for attending a 2005 anti-war rally in Sacramento, Calif., where a soldier was hung in effigy. McClintock’s spot features the mother whose son is serving in the military in Iraq. In the ad, this woman criticizes Brown for attending in this protest, while also charging that he has lied about his participation in the event.

Meanwhile, the two radio ads, also running districtwide, hit McClintock.

One ad — referring to McClintock as “L.A. Tom” — notes that the Republican actually represents a state Senate district in Southern California (adjacent to GOP Rep. Elton Gallegly’s 24th district) and cannot even vote for himself in November’s 4th district general election because he remains registered to vote in his state legislative seat.

The second ad compares Brown’s career as a career military officer to McClintock’s record as a career politician.

“Charlie Brown served during every major conflict from Vietnam through Desert Storm; he’s donated $50,000 to help veterans,” the ad’s voice-over says. “McClintock’s supported by a radical tax group that wants to raise taxes by 23 percent.”

Brown’s campaign said the “radical tax group” mentioned in the ad is the Club for Growth and cited the club’s support for a national sales tax as evidence that it backs a 23 percent sales tax hike. The club responded that it has supported a national sales tax in theory, as well as a flat income tax — also in theory — but only if such plans replaced income taxes. The club, an ardent anti-tax group, said it was laughable that Brown was accusing the organization of favoring a tax increase of any kind .

McClintock’s campaign said the 4th district is squarely behind its candidate, noting that the state Senator is known and liked there and most voters who live in the region agree with the GOP on major issues.

“Tom McClintock was asked by the residents of the 4th Congressional district to serve as their Representative because his views and positions on the issues is in sync with district voters,” McClintock campaign spokesman Bill George said. “Tom has strong support among veterans who know he has supported out combat troops since day one.”

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