The wealthy activist behind Proposition 38 says her campaign is taking down its television ad that sought to portray Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30 as a bad choice for voters interested in protecting K-12 education.
"The ad that's been controversial is not going to be on the air, beginning tomorrow," said Molly Munger in an exclusive News10 interview Monday morning.
The Prop 38 campaign has, instead, chosen to return to what a message only focused on their initiative, arguing that the measure's income tax increase will mean a "world class education" for California students.
The new Prop 38 ad:
The decision to pull down what Munger calls the "comparison" ad comes after a week of bitter political fighting with supporters of the governor's Prop 30, which also relies (in part) on an income tax hike and which cannot take effect if both measures should pass, but Prop 38 gets more votes.
Brown's backers sent letters to both Munger and her main policy supporters, the California Parent Teachers Association (PTA), saying that students would pay the ultimate price if Munger "insist[s] on risking billions of dollars in cuts to schools and universities just to pass your initiative."
Munger said Monday morning that the ad critical of Prop 30 may have pleased those who favor only her measure, but that it made other Prop 38 supporters uneasy -- namely, those who are urging a 'yes' vote on both initiatives.
"We needed to show respect for both groups of voters that make up our coalition," she said.
But Munger isn't backing away from her personal criticisms of the Prop 30 campaign. The governor and his supporters have focused on what happens if the Prop 30 tax increase doesn't pass: some $6 billion in automatic spending cuts written in to this summer's state budget.
Munger admits that, to date, polls have not shown Prop 38 with even a bare majority support. But she insists that the campaign believes the tax initiative's numbers are headed in the right direction. Even so, she said the tone of last week's ad may not come back before Election Day.
"We have no current plan to return to contrast ads," said Munger.
The wealthy Pasadena activist is not the only child of Charles Munger, Sr., longtime business partner of billionaire Warren Buffett, to spend money in this election cycle. Her brother, Charles Munger, Jr., has donated $22 million to an independent group that's both fighting Brown's Prop 30 and supporting a campaign money initiative, Proposition 32.
Molly Munger has recently said that her brother's money was not being used to defeat the governor's measure. But in the News10 interview, she said her brother told her this weekend that it appears his money is being used to help finance the anti-Prop 30 campaign.
And she predicted a lively family debate when they gather for Thanksgiving this year.
"Charles and I always walk on the beach at Thanksgiving," said Molly Munger. "And I suspect [our talk] will be a lot of, 'What were you thinking? Why did you do that?!'"