October 5th, 2009
06:19 PM ET
13 years ago

Whitman targeted as McDonnell fundraiser canceled

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/22/art.whitman.gi.jpg caption="Meg Whitman will no longer be raising money for Bob McDonnell in Virginia."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman's appearance at a Virginia fundraiser this week for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell has been canceled.

McDonnell's campaign said the fundraiser, to be held at a private home in northern Virginia, was canceled last week because "scheduling reasons prevented it from happening." John Backus, a businessman who was scheduled to host the gathering and has known Whitman for years, said the fundraiser could not be postponed because his wife is giving birth, but he told the campaign to add his name to another area fundraiser later in the month. He said Whitman wouldn't be attending the re-scheduled event.

Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Whitman, said the fundraiser was canceled because "our campaign has a scheduling conflict."

The calendar re-shuffling might be good news for Whitman, who is now seeking the GOP gubernatorial nomination in California and faces a potentially difficult three-way primary. After all, national Democrats have been eager to draw attention to McDonnell's controversial master's thesis that called working women "detrimental" to families, and they have skewered the Republicans who have journeyed to Virginia since the document was uncovered.

Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Bobby Jindal and Newt Gingrich have all been labeled conservative extremists by the Democratic National Committee for campaigning with McDonnell. On Monday, the DNC released a Web video with a warning for potential McDonnell surrogates: "You campaign with Bob McDonnell," the video cautions, "you're playing with fire."

Whitman didn't even have to make the trip to be targeted: DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan issued a tough statement on learning that the event was canceled, claiming that Whitman - one of the country's most successful female executives when she stepped down as eBay CEO in in 2007 - wouldn't have had the opportunity to shine "in Bob McDonnell's Virginia.

"With his radical views on women anyone that Bob McDonnell touches is toxic, and now that the closed door event's become public, it's not surprising that she backed out," Sevugan said in an e-mail to CNN. "I'm sure Meg Whitman didn't want Californians to know that she was not only embracing, but was raising money for, a candidate who believes that women working outside the home are a 'detriment to the family' and voted against the principle of equal pay for equal work."

"Indeed, in Bob McDonnell's Virginia, Meg Whitman would not have been able to rise to position she rose to at eBay," he added.

Story updated at 9:29 p.m. EST to clarify Backus' description of the events

Filed under: Bob McDonnell • California • Meg Whitman • Virginia
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. david

    meg whitman is not a republican or responsible citizen. she just registered to vote in 2002 and was a strong supporter of democrat barbara boxer, current u.s. senator, in california. meg whitman has rarely voted, if ever, and recently declared herself a republican. the GOP is doomed if they embrace meg whitman.

    October 5, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  2. CR

    Sounds like a smart move by Ms.Whitman. It certainly would not enhance her prospects to rub elbows with religious extremist McDonnell.

    October 5, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. mdauer

    What about single mother's? It seems it is imperative that they work.
    I stayed home until my child was in school, then went back to teaching, which I did for 36 years. It gave our child advantages such as scouting, swim lessons, art musum lessons on Saturday, catechism. cub scouts, and later scouting, and to camp in the summer.
    Having summers off his father and I took him to Williamsburg, to Washington, DC to see the capitol and the monuments of Jefferson and Washington. Without my working, we could not have afforded some of these everyday luxuries for our child. I saw him get on the bus in the morning and was generally home when he got home. Then as he grew older took him to football and baseball practice where I sat and watched til he was ready to come home. Had I more than one child it would have been more difficult.

    October 5, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  4. Old White Virginia Female

    It does my heart good to see the DNC educating the public so that hopefully they can vote intelligently this time. Now if they will just do something to unseat Cantor I will be able to sleep nights!

    October 5, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  5. Moe, NY

    PLEASE people of America...do not elect anymore CEO'S, they are the problem, not the cure.

    October 5, 2009 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  6. Danny J

    Those guys are extremists? They're all populists! They're all middle-of-the-road. The thing they all have in common: They're All Extremely Popular. Goes to show you that the DNC's agenda is a completely selfish one.

    October 5, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  7. Tanbiker2

    It's wonderful to see rich, corrupt Republicans running around like confused mice.

    October 5, 2009 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    Republicans – gotta love 'em.

    They just found out that a baby is due next week or so. Hmmmmmm

    October 5, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  9. Ryan

    I know this is kind of petty, but is it just me or is this woman incredibly unphotogenic?

    October 5, 2009 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |