Capitol Alert: The gloves are off against Denham

Editor's note: The following article was written by Capitol Alert, a political Web site operated by the Sacramento Bee.

If the new ads are to be believed, Sen. Jeff Denham is a narcoleptic, massage-loving gambler who's hurting schools and taking secret pay raises on the job.

Proponents of the recall effort against him, funded by a combination of money from the state Democratic Party and a campaign committee linked to Senate leader Don Perata, have begun airing two attack ads against him.

Denham political consultant Kevin Spillane said the ads reflect a personal vendetta by Perata over Denham's budget vote last year.

"Perata doesn't like the fact that he couldn't bully Denham into voting the way he Perata wanted," Spillane said. "Perata takes it personally, and he's willing to abuse the recall process because of his own personal agenda."

As for the issues brought up in the ad, Spillane said, "they're throwing anything they can make up against the wall and seeing if they can get it to stick. The bottom line is all of their charges are misleading and baseless."

Spillane said spending by Denham criticized in the ad was for "legitimate political and fundraising expenses." A trip to Sedona, for example, was for a political meeting with Republican presidential candidate and Sen. John McCain.

The ads also make reference to a Capitol Alert post on Denham's pay-raise history.

The television spot is below. We at Capitol Alert particularly like the massage sequence.

Here's the script for the radio ad:

"The MGM grand? Sedona?

I thought we sent Jeff Denham to Sacramento.

MAN: Wait a minute. The MGM is in Vegas.

WOMAN: Well, Denham has been racking up the frequent flier miles.

MAN: To Vegas and Sedona?

WOMAN: uh hm -- to the number one "Destination Spa."

MAN: Sounds like a free vacation.

WOMAN: More like a recipe for jetlag. When Denham finally makes it to Sacramento, he's practically sleepwalking.

MAN: What do you mean?

WOMAN: He held up the budget, hurting our schools. And remember how he said he wouldn't take pay raises?

MAN: Oh, you don't mean --

WOMAN: You guessed it. Denham secretly raised his pay - three times - when he thought no one was looking. The Fresno Bee called it "not quite honest."

MAN: Well that's an understatement.

WOMAN: And that's why I'm voting yes on the recall. After all, don't we deserve better?"