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Political Notebook

Whitman spending heavily in bid for Calif. governor

June 5, 2010

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SACRAMENTO — Chartered jets that offer “white glove service,’’ fancy fund-raisers in Beverly Hills and beyond, and enough high-priced political consultants to fill an auditorium.

Those are a few of billionaire Meg Whitman’s favorite things as she carries out her remarkably lavish campaign for California governor.

Whitman’s top political consultant, Mike Murphy, makes $90,000 a month. A crew of videographers and the former White House photographer chronicle her stops around the Golden State. She bought an entire TV feed at the host hotel during the state convention while hiring consultants from Florida to Los Angeles to help her blanket the airwaves with a stream of advertising.

The former eBay chief executive has spent more than $81 million so far — $71 million from her personal fortune. And if she wins the GOP nomination Tuesday, it marks only the halfway point in her quest for office.

Whitman or her Republican rival, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, will face Democratic candidate Jerry Brown and a host of deep-pocketed, Democratic-aligned special interests in what surely will be a record-setting spending spree.

Whitman’s outsize spending, detailed in her recently filed campaign fund-raising report, stands in stark contrast to her austerity plans for California should she win the primary and get elected in November to replace Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

She is promising to dramatically cut state spending, eliminate 40,000 state workers, and bring a “common sense’’ budgeting approach to California.

The California Nurses Association, which supports Brown in the governor’s race, has seized on the irony, launching a campaign to stop Whitman from “crowning herself queen of California.’’ The union has hired an actress to portray “Queen Meg’’ outside some of Whitman’s appearances.

— Associated Press

S.C. lawmaker calls candidate a ‘raghead’
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A South Carolina lawmaker called a Republican gubernatorial candidate of Indian descent a “raghead’’ Thursday, saying we have one in the White House, we don’t need one in the governor’s mansion.

Republican state Senator Jake Knotts later apologized for the slur, saying the remarks about President Obama and state Representative Nikki Haley were meant as a joke.

They came on Internet political talk show, Pub Politics. Cohost Phil Bailey said Knotts said: “We’ve already got a raghead in the White House. We don’t need another raghead in the governor’s mansion.’’

Haley, who was born a Sikh and describes herself as a Methodist, called it another shameful attack. Endorsed by Sarah Palin and a favorite of the Tea Party movement, she has faced other landmines in her attempt to become the state’s first female governor. In the past two weeks, two men have come forward to say they had trysts with her, which she denies.

Her campaign manager Tim Pearson called Knotts “an embarrassment to our state and to the Republican Party.’’

— Associated Press

Clinton jumps the gun on queen’s birthday wishes

WASHINGTON — The State Department has conceded committing a diplomatic faux pas by sending birthday greetings to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II a week early.

Spokesman P.J. Crowley allowed that yesterday’s message from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wishing the queen well on her 84th birthday and honoring the “special relationship’’ between the United States and Britain was premature.

Better a week early than a week late, he said.

— Associated Press

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