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Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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June 25, 2008 2:01 PM

Gregoire ad says she "cleaned up Dino Rossi's mess"

Posted by David Postman

Gov. Chris Gregoire’s re-election ad campaign began today with this radio spot. It hits back at ads run by It’s Time for a Change, the BIAW-controlled PAC, that criticize Gregoire on her policy toward sex offenders.

The builders' ad

features a woman who says her 12-year-old granddaughter was sexually assaulted. "The governor has made it easier for these perpetrators to get away with what they want to do," the woman says in the ad. "I don't know how she can go to sleep at night."

Gregoire’s radio spot says:

It’s hard to believe Dino Rossi and his special interest friends who are attacking Governor Gregoire on crime.

It’s Dino Rossi who wrote the budget that cut millions from supervising felons. Rossi’s budget meant more than 14,000 felons would no longer be monitored. And it’s Rossi who opposed funding for a commitment center for sex predators. Check the record.

It’s Gov. Chris Gregoire who cleaned up Dino Rossi’s mess. Crime is now at a 14-year low and no one’s been tougher on sex offenders. She started Operation Crackdown to hunt them down, expanded the DNA registry, required sex offenders to wear electronic ankle monitors. And Governor Gregoire has increased sentences for sex crimes.

No wonder that every major police and law enforcement group has endorsed Chris Gregoire.
When it comes to crime, the choice is clear: It’s Governor Gregoire who is making our community safer and getting results.

More to come …

The governor's campaign says the claims about budget cuts come from the spending plan approved by the Legislature in 2003. Rossi was chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee that year. He was a major force in writing the budget. But, in what I've always found problematic about this line of attack from Gregoire, Rossi worked very closely with Democratic Gov. Gary Locke. And the final plan - no matter who wrote it - was approved by the Democratic-controlled House. The suggestion that "Rossi's budget" cut children from health insurance or, in this case, made it harder to monitor sex offenders means that some Democrats in the House today went along with the plan, too.

MORE: Gregoire campaign spokesman Aaron Toso says in reaction to the previous paragraph:

We feel that it is fair game. If Rossi wants to take credit for writing a budget, he has to own the entire budget and can’t pick and choose.
I don't disagree. It is certainly fair game to talk about the budget that Rossi has, in fact, made a centerpiece of his legislative career. But I do think that line of criticism is complicated by what I said. Of course, radio or TV ads will keep it simple. I wonder, though, if Rossi will respond with an ad listing some of the Democrats who agreed with him at the time. It'd be a long list.

UPDATE: Rossi's campaign responded to Gregoire's commercial with a press release sent this evening. And, as expected, the campaign points out that Rossi worked with Locke on the budget, adding, "The budget was passed by the Democratic-controlled House and signed by Democratic Governor Locke."

The campaign says that the prison budget was $46 million more than Locke proposed and tightened the law that allows early release.

On the question of the commitment center, Rossi says he opposed a proposed center in his district, in North Bend, because there was not prior notice to him and it was located near a children's camp.

The ad claims Gregoire has been endorsed by “every major police and law enforcement group.” But Rossi has been endorsed by local police groups, including the police guilds in King County, Renton and Kitsap County.

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