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The microphones have hardly cooled off over at the Long Beach Convention Center, but the campaigns of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown and his Republican rival Meg Whitman are already furiously spinning the candidates' lively exchange over whether to stop running negative ads.

While Brown pledged this afternoon to stop running negative ads if Whitman does the same, his campaign promptly blasted e-mails dinging Whitman for not taking that pledge, as suggested by moderator Matt Lauer at The Women's Conference hosted by state First Lady Maria Shriver.

Brown's campaign has also featured a one-minute clip of the exchange in an e-mailed fundraising appeal.

For its part, Whitman's press shop blasted e-mails repeating the Republican's refusal to accept Lauer's pledge and instead slammed Brown and his union allies for engaging in what it said was "character assassination." The press release even called into question Lauer's definition of negative ads.

Meanwhile, political ads, negative or otherwise, keep flying across the state's airwaves, including this new spot from the California Labor Federation hitting Whitman for her weak voting record.



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