Of course, Jerry Brown would take the deal offered by Matt
Lauer to pull his "negative ads." Brown benefits from such a deal.

Today Show host
Matt Lauer, conducting an interview session with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
and governor hopefuls Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman at the Women’s Conference, brought
a rather sedate session to life by proposing the two candidates pull "negative"
campaign ads.

Brown first tried to put off the suggestion by saying that
"negative" would have to be defined, arguing there is a "spectrum" of
negativity in ads, meaning some attacks are more fierce or justified than
others. However, when Lauer pushed the two candidates, Brown accepted as long
as Whitman pulled her negative ads. Why wouldn’t he, if the polls are correct
and Brown is ahead in the race even by a small margin he benefits in making the
deal and dousing the heated battle.

Lauer, setting himself up as some sort of campaign
consultant, argued to Whitman that her approach must not be working since she
was behind in the polls, so why not try his approach? However, Lauer made the
suggestion under the belief that both campaigns are using negative ads. Under
his reasoning wouldn’t that mean that Brown’s negative ads were working since
he’s ahead in polls?

I’m not sure what qualifies Lauer to make his campaign
management pronouncements but it’s not his place to decide what ads to run to
win or lose a campaign.

With the audience seemingly supportive of the
everybody-play-nice suggestion, Whitman was in the box Lauer placed her in. You
can almost guarantee at such a gathering the "no-negative" suggestion would get
applause. At this point in an election, voters are fed up with all political

Lauer has a knack of involving himself in California
governor races. Although, last time it happened, Lauer’s involvement was much
more benign.

When Arnold Schwarzenegger announced for governor during the
recall election of 2003, one of his first interviews was with Lauer on the Today Show. Lauer was on the Today Show set in New York while
Schwarzenegger was in a Los Angeles studio.

Lauer asked Schwarzenegger a couple of questions before
asking the new candidate if he would release his tax returns. Schwarzenegger
responded that he couldn’t hear the question through the earpiece. As Joe
Mathews described the end of the interview in his book, The People’s Machine,
Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rise of Blockbuster Democracy.

"Apparently we are
losing audio with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Los Angeles," Lauer said,
sarcastically. NBC said it could find no technical problem with its audio

Despite that inauspicious start, Schwarzenegger now
confidentially commands the stage with Lauer and others as he took over the end
of the women’s conference interview session to make his points, telling Lauer,
not to "schvitz" or sweat to close the session because it was Arnold and
Maria’s show and they could keep the session open on his say-so.

For Whitman’s sake, Arnold took the program over from Lauer
a little late.