Veteran California political scribes recalled, however, that now-senior Senator Dianne Feinstein pulled the same stunt during a crucial debate when she unsuccessfully ran for governor against Pete Wilson. Back in October 1990, Feinstein and Wilson had their one-and-only debate of the campaign; nervous before the statewide televised event, DiFi scrawled three words — “growth, education, choice” on her palm in blue marker, to remind her of the policy themes she wanted to sound. Her action technically violated a ground rule, on which the campaigns had agreed, against bringing notes to the podium. When reporters challenged her about it after the debate, Feinstein hid her hand behind her back, said, “I’m not going to show you,” and walked away. Her bizarre reaction only fed the story for several days; an L.A. TV station showed blown-up pictures of her scrawled hand, and the Wilson campaign paid for a computer-enhanced picture that they circulated to the press corps. It was a superficial issue, but it helped the Republican candidate advance the notion that his Democratic rival — the first woman to win a major party nomination for governor — was too unknown to trust in the job. Whether or not the handwriting flap was a factor, Wilson beat Feinstein in November.