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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California • Page 120
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California • Page 120

Los Angeles, California
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Roff put a pile of taped footage of various mayoral events and press conferences into a big shopping bag and Morris schlepped them to New York, where he lives. He very nearly lost half the tapes when the bag broke as he was rushing through the madhouse of Kennedy Airport on his way to a cab. "In the studio in Manhattan I watched everything Hadley gave me," Morris says. "There were snips of the post-assassination moments, but nothing good enough to use in a top-quality ad. The important thing, though, is that Hadley's stuff convinced me that what I wanted was out there somewhere." Later, on that January morning in Feinstein's home, Morris found what he was looking for: Good, sharp color footage of the post-assassination announcement.

It was in a retrospective of the "Feinstein Years" done by a San Francisco TV Continued from Al Kamp and 11 points ahead of Wilson. It has changed everything for the Feinstein campaign. Calls from women and others eager to volunteer are pouring in; the staff must seek larger quarters. Fund raising is up dramatically. "That ad is the best 600 grand ever spent in a political campaign anywhere," said Democratic consultant Paul Ambrosino (who says he is neutral in the race), in a reference to the $600,000 it cost Feinstein to air the commercial for a month in Los Angeles and other media markets.

The ad ran for most of February and returns to the airwaves this week in parts of the state outside Los Angeles. Running it so far ahead of the June 5 primary was a gamble because most recent campaigns have shown that the voters just don't want to focus on the election until the final weeks. Some consultants, in fact, thought Morris and Carrick had wasted Feinstein's money. The way the ad opens was also a gamble, since it uses TV footage of a traumatic event, the origin of the nickname "The Grabber." It is the Nov. 27, 1978, press conference at which Feinstein took charge of San Francisco after announcing that Mayor George Mos-cone and Supervisor Harvey Milk had been assassinated by an angry former supervisor.

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"The mission was to jam as much about Dianne and her record into the spot as we could," says Morris, "because it would be the first thing many Californians, especially those in the south, would find out about her." But there were technical hurdles because, as Feinstein's husband, Richard Blum, exclaimed when he first saw the ad, "Thirty seconds sure goes by fast!" Blum, a wealthy investment banker who has lent the campaign more than $1 million, also said to Carrick, "Uh, how much did this thing cost to make?" Told that it was only $13,000, Blum smiled and said, "Best 13 grand I ever spent." One technical problem in making the ad concerned the "grabber" beginning. It took up 10 of the 30 seconds. "We wanted the first thing on the screen to be the date of the events people were about to see, Nov. 27, 1978," says Morris. "But to get the maximum out of our time, we finally had to start Dianne's announcement of the assassinations at the same time the date flashed up there." Another problem was the jarring switch from the color TV footage that begins the ad to the black and white photographs that follow.

Adam Hanft, a New York advertising executive, suggested to Morris that he have the studio technician convert the last shot of the color TV footage which shows Feinstein's taut face into black and white. The result is a smoother transition from footage to photos. The technical problems were a snap compared to a substantive matter that had to be addressed in the ad. It was a case of "mistaken identity" on the candidates' positions on the death penalty. The two consultants had not come across anything quite like it in their 15 years of hanging around political campaigns.

Carrick, 39, is a former aide to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and he directed Missouri Rep. Richard A. Gephardt's dramatic victory in the 1988 Democratic presidential caucuses in Iowa.

He moved to Los Angeles after Gephardt's bid for the nomination faded and went to work for West-field parent company of an Australian TV network that buys American programming. Morris, 36, is also close to the Kennedys, having served as a protege to a man named Jack English, a New Yorker who persuaded Robert F. Kennedy to run for the Senate from New York in 1964. While a partner of New York media guru David Garth, Morris made TV ads for Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley's near-miss gubernatorial campaign in 1982. Brought together by Kennedy clan acquaintances, Morris and Carrick had just formed a political consulting partnership last fall when they were recommended to Feinstein and her husband by a friend of former Vice President Walter F.

Mondale. Soon after Feinstein hired them, Morris and Carrick got in touch with KRC Research of New York, a firm that specializes in using demographic information to find voters for focus groups. In a focus group, each participant is paid about $50 to show up for a session in which the consultants probe for the voters' perceptions of the candidates and the issues. Carrick and Morris held focus groups with voters around the state in December and it was then, Please see FEINSTEIN, A25 Photo off television showing Dianne Feinstein at press conference after assassination of San Francisco's mayor and a supervisor. IV MfflM' HttDMWV 9hk H9irniHii) in WW SCOTT ROBINSON ForTheTlmra station.

Meanwhile, Carrick found in the stack of photos what he wanted to put in the 30-second spot: "Dianne with Con Murphy, the chief of police when she was mayor. He was a big, tough cop." In the ad, Cornelius Murphy with his wide sideburns and chief's uniform smiles at Dianne Feinstein. She smiles back. Suddenly, in the superspeed of the 30-second spot, a headline flashes up. It is from the San Francisco Examiner's coverage of a 1975 city dispute: "Feinstein Backs Police." There are also photos of Feinstein with a small black child, Feinstein leading a pro-choice rally at an abortion clinic, Feinstein smiling in the middle of a throng crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on the 50th anniversary of its opening.

And there is a quick shot of a cover from City-State Magazine, a publication that named Feinstein the most effective mayor in the nation in 1987. Morris and Carrick say that three key words in their 51 -word script were actually written by Feinstein. "Dianne knew that we had to convey that she is tough, but she also wanted to make sure that she came across as compassionate," says Carrick. "So she came up with 'tough and The entire line reads: "Tough The angle of the TV camera is from somewhere below and in front of the crush of grim -faced people surrounding Feinstein at the post-assassination press conference. She looks taut but calm as she says, "Both Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk have been shot.

killed." There are groans. A woman screams. And then the ad's narrator whose "urgent" voice was used several years ago in ads for the gritty Vietnam War film "Platoon" intones, "Forged from tragedy, her leadership brought San Francisco together." As president of the Board of Supervisors, Feinstein, who had been thinking of quitting politics, was thrust by Moscone's assassination into the job of acting mayor. She went on to win two terms at the polls. "Nobody, and I mean nobody, could take their eyes off that ad with that beginning," says David Bienstock, a top adviser to Wilson.

Some Van de Kamp supporters have criticized Feinstein's use of the post-assassination footage as being in poor taste. But a memo obtained by The Times reveals that Van de Kamp's own media consultants, David Doak and Robert Shrum, told Feinstein in 1987 that if they ran her gubernatorial campaign they would spotlight the assassination GREAT RATE, SHORT TERM "MDI' ((JMKIi- 1311101 H(IMI MiM 8. a and Loans. FDIC Insured. Santa Monica Woodland Hills Seal Beach Yorba Linda Thousand Oaks Yucca Valley Torrance Tustin Ventura FDIC INSURED TOlKW.000 this rale liirone year.

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