WASHINGTON – Republicans are using a new wave of ads to try to lay the blame for California's energy woes directly on Democratic Gov. Gray Davis.
The first wave of ads were starting Monday, financed by a group of Republicans under the name American Taxpayers Alliance at a cost of $1.5 million. The group is trying to raise far more -- up to $25 million -- to keep the ads on the air.
"Gray Davis has been playing the blame game all year and it's time Republicans, independents and like-minded Democrats say enough is enough," said GOP consultant Scott Reed.
The ad says "he's pointing fingers and blaming others" and then quotes news accounts that say he ignored all the warning signals and turned a problem into a crisis.
The ad, in Spanish and English, refers to the state's rolling blackouts as "grayouts."
"We believe Davis has gotten away with political murder," Reed said. "He's been trying to lay it off on Republicans in California, former Republican governors and Republicans nationally."
House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri said in a radio address this weekend that the Republican leadership "has consistently fought efforts to deal with the energy crisis on the West Coast ... and now they are looking for political cover."
Aides to Davis were not immediately available to respond to calls seeking comment.
The ads are slated to run through the second week in July, said Reed. Concerns have grown among national Republicans about political fallout in the 2002 elections from California's energy problems.