Meg Whitman. Who does not want waste by Peter Bruce
Whitman's $119 million donation breaks record
Don't get me wrong there are good and bad out there in the political world,but someone who does not want waste. WOW how could $119 million help Cal dig it's way out of this hole we are in. Just run on who you are not how much money you can spend. This is so wrong...
(09-15) 19:46 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Hours after putting $15 million more into her bid for California governor, Republican Meg Whitman on Wednesday defended her donation of a record-breaking $119 million of her own money, saying "my job is to spend money to get this message out."
The former eBay CEO, whose donations to her campaign now top New York MayorMichael Bloomberg's $110 million contribution to his re-election bid last year, made the comment after an appearance before a crowd of nearly 300 employees at the San Francisco headquarters of Yelp, the social-networking and rating website.
In a departure from her tightly scripted campaign events, Whitman took some tough questions from the mostly under-30 audience, who grilled her on her campaign spending, negative ads and stance on Proposition 8, the state's ban on same-sex marriage, which she supported.
Whitman, standing in front of a pair of California flags and a banner pushing her "New California" theme, talked up her plan to create what she has promised will be 2 million new jobs in California in her first term, and to offer solutions to what she called gridlock politics in Sacramento.
Slam against governor
She slammed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for taking a trade mission to Asia during the state's budget crisis.
"We're 90 days past the state budget (being due), and the Legislature has gone home and the governor has gone to China," she said, telling the Yelp workforce: "If you had a massive outage, I don't think Jeremy (Stoppelman, CEO and founder of Yelp) would have decamped to China."
Whitman's appearance in San Francisco came a day after she made the record books by bringing her total donations to her campaign to $119 million.
She has vastly outspent Democrat Jerry Brown, who has dropped about $1 million on the race to date - although he has benefited from advertisements for his campaign that independent expenditure groups paid for.
"My job is to spend money to get out this message," Whitman said Wednesday, "and to make sure every Californian has all the information they need to make an informed decision. It takes a lot of money to be competitive in California."
Yelp employee Susan McKay, 24, asked Whitman to justify her decision to continue running ads in which then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton, speaking during a 1992 debate against Brown, accuses the former two-term governor of raising taxes.
State and independent analysts have said in recent days that the claim was based on an erroneous analysis. Clinton, who endorsed Brown this week, agreed with that assessment.
"Why are you refusing to remove an ad that has been proven to be false and therefore misleading?" McKay asked. "Why would you knowingly and purposely run a campaign that is based on lies?"
Whitman defended the spots as "essentially" true, saying "politics is a tough business. And you have got to tell people why to vote for you."
McKay also asked: "Why have you made smear tactics and an overall negative focus such hallmarks of your campaign? It doesn't seem to me that defaming your opponent will help California in any way."
Whitman said she has run a "series of very positive ads" over the past 20 months "about my vision for California."
She added: "You also have to set the record straight on your opponent. So, I stand by that ad. It was the right thing to do."
Another Yelp employee, who declined to be identified, asked Whitman whether it was "a cynical and disingenuous approach to democracy" for her to spend more than $100 million on TV commercials but avoid debates.
Whitman said she was looking forward to three debates with Brown, the state attorney general, in the coming weeks - in Fresno, Davis and San Rafael. Brown is pressing for another debate, in Los Angeles or elsewhere in Southern California. Whitman has not decided whether to participate in that event.
"I feel that I've been out and about with voters in California for nearly two years," she said.
Defense of civil unions
In her 40-minute appearance before employees of what she called "one of the hottest Internet companies" in the nation, Whitman defended her support of civil unions for gay couples - and took a jab at Brown.
"Regardless of where you are on this issue, the attorney general and the governor of the state of California actually have a legal obligation to give that ruling standing to go through the court process," Whitman said.
Meeting later with reporters, Whitman denied sidestepping a position on Proposition 23, a November ballot measure endorsed by the California Republican Party, that would suspend California's landmark climate change bill until the state's unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters.
Whitman said she would make her view on the measure known in the next 10 days.
Stoppelman invited Whitman and Brown to appear before Yelp employees. Brown is considering a visit, spokesman Sterling Clifford said.