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CA-Gov: Whitman Defends Handling of Vote Story

Meg Whitman isn't apologizing for how she handled the controversy over her voting record. AP Photo/Francis Specker

Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman (R) said she would not have changed anything in the way she and her campaign responded to a Sacramento Bee article alleging that she had never been registered to vote before 2002.

"I was clear as early as February that my voting record was not perfect," Whitman said in an interview with the Fix today in Washington. "The Bee story did not square with my research and my recollection."

Whitman added that once the story broke, she tasked her team with crafting a "deliberate" and "thoughtful" response to the burgeoning controversy -- waiting nearly two weeks before sending a letter to the Bee earlier this week demanding that the paper "correct the record as soon as possible."

Of the Bee, Whitman said today: "I think it wasn't good the way Sacramento Bee conducted themselves." (The paper has written subsequent stories noting that Whitman was, in fact, registered to vote in San Francisco in 1982 and in Santa Clara County in 1999.)

Whether and how often Whitman voted before she decided to seek the California governorship this year became a major issue in the contest over the past fortnight with state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, one of Whitman's rivals for the Republican nod, seeking to cast her voting record as disqualifying.

Whitman said her voting history comes up one out of every four events she does and "if people ask about I am happy to talk about it."

Voters seem unaffected -- so far -- by the controversy. A new Field poll showed Whitman leading the Republican field with 22 percent followed by former Rep. Tom Campbell at 20 percent and Poizner at nine percent.

We'll have more from our Whitman interview in the days to come...

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 8, 2009; 3:43 PM ET
Categories:  Governors  
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I live in CA. Voting here is mostly meaningless. Dem's win statewide officese by 10 pts or more; districts are so gerrymandered as to make those races a foregone conclusion. Propositions are opaque and will probably be overturned by the idiot judges. I have no problem with anyone here that doesn't bother. I usually vote, because there is something on the ballot that sucks me in, but leave most of it blank.

Posted by: rich17 | October 9, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse


Poizner is pro-choice AND opposed the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. "Whitman may have only been a voter since 2002," political scientist and former GOP operative Jack Pitney told the Orange County Register recently. "But Poizner’s only been a conservative since 2006."

There will be be a conservative candidate (the American Independent Party) but I agree it is a harder sell if someone with state-office experience like Poizner and Brown are in the race. The anti-incumbant sentiment is very real right now. Let's see what happens in NY 23, New Jersey and Virginia first.

Posted by: JakeD | October 9, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I am surprised at Tom Campbell's running in this race. Lacking the vast resources that Whitman & Poizner have, I still think the campaign will drive Campbell out. However, he has proven me wrong thus far and is running neck & neck with Whitman and Poizner is behind. I still think that will change, as Poizner looks ahead in the conservative roots game. I really think that if Poizner wins the nomination, there won't be any conservative candidate as a 3rd party. If Whitman wins the nomination, there may be a 3rd party conservative candidate. That theory is being put to the test in NY 23 as the Club for Growth has endorsed Hoffman and is supporting him strong.

Posted by: reason5 | October 9, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

California is on it's death bed due to years and years of slaver-democrat rule.

Republicans need a better candidate than Whit-Less- though.

I would not start a business in the envy capital of the west coast and more and more people will continue to flee if they don't stop punishing their employers.

What did the slaver-Democrat Say in the 1820's to justify slavin' the black man: "We provide food, shelter, and administer the health needs of our workers."

Posted by: SelfDeterminationtrumpsenvy | October 9, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

This "criticism" of Meg Whitman is as hollow as the awarding of the Nobel to Obama. No one questioned Obama's New Party/ACORN/SEIU/AYERS/SOROS/socialist redistribution ideology/his "the Constitution is nothing more than a list of negative rights"/lack of any intellectual writings/no experience/Chicago thug politics to get the Senate seat in the first place/his dissembling BS on slamming the Iraq war when he wasn't even in the Senate/ criticism of Obama's absurd "Dreams" of his father sentimental crap - BUT Meg Whitman, a brilliant CEO who knows fiscal policy is raked over the coals for a voting record...The American people better throw all of these Chicago thugs out - Obama and the Congress that thinks it is the Reichstag. The American people do NOT want this ObamahealthKILL bill. Our freedoms are being bulldozed by a leftist Soros/Democrat regime - We have term limits, but the people won't exercise their ballot power - too many people are corrupt, raping the American tax payer, seeking personal power and money - Rangel, Pelosi, Dodd, Durbin, Reid, Schumer, Frank, Murtha and a bizzilion more - THROW THE BUMS OUT. Obama is a hollow little man in short pants who will say anything he has to to get power and that, of course, includes mockery of President Bush and his policies - until they slam the wanna'be I HEART CHAVEZ Obama in his styrofoam Greek columns - now the Patriot Act is fine with a little Dem tweaking? Where is Code Pink? Where are the demands for an exit strategy? Where are the Media's disgustingly callow politically motivated body counts from Afghanistan?
Where is the coverage of Cindy Sheehan? Where is "Obama lied. Men died"? Where are the Hollywood assassination films of the prez? Where are the monkey cartoons that were perfectly acceptable mockery of Bush? Where are the generals on all the Obama News Shows disagreeing with the prez? Where is Hillary's "It is patriotic to disagree with ANY administration" screaming show?
AND NOW... The Nobel Peace Prize makes itself the laughing stock of the world AGAIN.
The Nobel has been a mockery since it was awarded to Jimmy Carter and Al Gore - the Nobel is nothing more than a plastic meaningless political ideological joke.
Obama is morally and ethically hollow as the Iranian, the Polish, the Georgian, the Honduran people, Israel, and the US military can all attest. Barack Hussein Obama, mmmm,mmmm,mmmm can now display this pathetic specious trinket alongside Michelle's Fashion Award and his styrofoam Greek Follywood columns. The American people and our Constitution and free people around the world, meanwhile, are being crushed by the Democrat/Soros Congress and an Obama Thug Administration... Talk about term limits - VOTE this Nope and Dope nightmare out!!!

Posted by: mainlobster | October 9, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Whitman is just another republican who made a lot of money in the business. Some buy football teams, others run for the Senate. Neither is qualified for the position their money can buy. Has Whitman ever been to the Senate? Would she know how to find it if she had to find her own way? I doubt it!

Posted by: Opa2 | October 8, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse


It's not the voting record per se, it's her amateurish way of handling the adverse publicity.

We'll see what she's made of when the next 'stinkbomb' (to borrow Chris Matthews arresting phrase) hits.

This is like thinking of a devastating riposte 20 minutes after the cocktail party breaks up! But she's got one thing down pat: blame the media.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | October 8, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

If a person were to take an honest view of the candidates from which Ms. Whitman would have been asked to least in California contests...I consider her refusal to cast a vote in support of any of them a testiment to her good judgement and morality.

Posted by: PSOG | October 8, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

The Megster.. thought that the elections were ultimately decided by calculating internet website hits..

Posted by: newbeeboy | October 8, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

"Voters seem unaffected -- so far -- by the controversy. A new Field poll showed Whitman leading the Republican field with 22 percent followed by former Rep. Tom Campbell at 20 percent and Poizner at nine percent."

One's voting record is typically important to party insiders who themselves have extensive voting & party involvement history. But the Fix has also noted recently that the CA GOP is shrinking around the social cons as a base. Does that group have a long involvement in party politics, or are the relative newcomers?

I ask because here in MN, on the DFL side a history of party involvement is critical. The way that party works you have to show up at local events statewide to have any chance at a nomination for statewide office. For the Repubs, on the other hand, such involvement is less important. If you look at Rep Bachmann's political history, for instance, she literally came out of nowhere by packing an endorsement convention with her own people, who were newcomers to the political process. She took out an incumbent in the GOP primary this way & skated to her seat in the Legislature, representing a safe Repub seat. Such a tactic is impossible on the DFL side.

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 8, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cillizza:

What do you think about my proposal to have Whitman and Newsom split the liberal vote and a conservative third-party candidate ride in on a white horse to win the day?

Posted by: JakeD | October 8, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

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