It's been a crazy campaign season, not just in California but across the nation, and negative advertising seems to be the reigning theme for most candidates.

Confronted with a pitch to "give Californians a break" by pulling negative television ads, Calif. Attorney General Jerry Brown was "all for it." His opponent, political newcomer Meg Whitman: not so much.

The proposal came up during an interview with Today Show host Matt Lauer, whose idea drew a wave of applause from an audience. Brown appeared a bit hesitant, saying that negative advertising is really in the eye of the beholder, but he eventually came around.

"Let's be clear, if she takes her negative ads down ... I'll take mine off, no question," he said. "We'll do it together."

Whitman balked at the idea, sending a wave of audible displeasure throughout the room. She said that Californians "need to understand" her allegations against Brown.

"I think it's important because I am new to politics," she explained. "People need to know where I stand and also, Jerry Brown has been in politics for 40 years and there's a long track record there and I want to make sure people really understand what's going on here. And I'm not doing it in a mean- spirited way. I just think it's important for people to really understand what the track record was in Oakland, what the track record was as governor."

The former executive is trailing Brown by 13 points, according to a recent Los Angeles Times poll.

Outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who sat on-stage during the interview, remarked that the candidates' advisers "must be going nuts" over the whole fracas.

The crowd, which had gathered at the Long Beach Convention Center, was attending Calif. first lady Maria Schriver's annual women's conference.

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