June 2nd, 2010
09:50 AM ET
12 years ago

Unions target Whitman in lead up to GOP primary

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/02/art.mwhitman.jpg caption="Meg Whitman is being targeted by union protests in the days leading up to the California gubernatorial primaries."](CNN) – A crowd had gathered to see California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman speak outside a mall in Little Saigon in Southern California when a plane circled overhead pulling a banner that read "Queen Meg 2010." One of the introductory speakers had just announced to the crowd of largely Vietnamese immigrants that Whitman was born in the "Year of the Rooster," when the banner came into sight. Some of her supporters applauded apparently mistaking it for a campaign sign. It was anything but.

The message was part of a union organized protest that's following Whitman in the final days before the California GOP primary. More than a dozen protesters wearing blond wigs – designed to look like Whitman's coif – blew whistles and held signs that read "Rich Enough to Rule 2010" and "Only the Rich Deserve Health Care." Leading the group in chants of "let them eat cake!" were a tiara and tux clad couple waving like royalty.

It's a self-styled "satire" campaign organized by the California Nurses Association objecting to the unprecedented amount of money Whitman has poured into the race. "The former eBay CEO has spent as much as $80 million on the primary to date – $60 million from her own fortune." When asked about the unprecedented spending, Whitman pointed out that California has extremely expensive media markets.

"I have to get the message out," she told CNN.

It is nearly impossible to turn on the television or radio in California without hearing ads by Whitman and her chief opponent, Steve Poizner, a self-made multi-millionaire.

The protesters have appeared at Whitman events in the past, but now plan events throughout the final days before the state's June 8 primary. On Wednesday, Whitman opponents will gather outside former Gov. Pete Wilson's Los Angeles home. Wilson – who is reviled by many of the state's Hispanic voters for his support of the controversial anti-illegal immigration proposition 187 – endorsed Whitman, and he's featured in a campaign ad positioning Whitman as tough on illegal immigration, which has become a pivotal issue in the last days of the Republican primary. The group has translated the Wilson-Whitman ad into Spanish and will begin airing it on Spanish language radio – no doubt hoping it will turn off Hispanic voters.

Whitman reaffirmed to CNN she does not support the Arizona immigration law, but does back new policies to stop illegal border crossings, crack down on sanctuary cities, and on employers who hire illegal workers.

Filed under: 2010 • California • Meg Whitman
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Patrick

    If the unions are for something I'm against it and vice versa. The unions have done so much damage to our country, why would anyone with a conscience still belong to one?

    June 2, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  2. Rosslaw

    So Whitman feels that if we can just crack down on people who often risked their lives to be cleaning ladies, roofers and dish washers crime will vanish, California will balance its dysfunctionally allocated state budget and all will be well with the world. Sounds like a foolproof platform on which to run the state.

    June 2, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  3. American Citizen

    Let me get this right; "Whitman reaffirmed to CNN she does not support the Arizona immigration law, but does back new policies to stop illegal border crossings, crack down on sanctuary cities, and on employers who hire illegal workers." Is not California the sancutary city state? What happened to the great state of California? Oh, illegal immigration has ruined it and this is whats left. Legal immigration is always welcomed. Immigration is a part of American's way of life. Illegal immigration is breaking the law. Don't try to spin it. Illegal is illegal is illegal!

    June 2, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  4. Bob

    "The message was part of a union organized protest that's following Whitman in the final days before the California GOP primary"

    Public sector unions plan to spend over $100 million on this fall's elections. They will spend the money on campaigns to convince us that their opponents are wealthy and spending too much money on their campaigns.
    Now that is... rich.

    June 2, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  5. aneanderthal

    Those corrupt union dollars they steal from their members to spend on corrupting elections that enable them to steal even more money from the general public aided and abetted by Obozo and his thieves. All corrupt thieves, democrats, unions and Obozo.

    June 2, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  6. Tayo

    Will she stand the test of time?

    Time will tell, definitely!

    June 2, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  7. James Brooklyn N.Y.

    California has too many problems to fix. I don't think it should be left to a rookie to fix them. She should have just donated the 60 million to the state.

    June 2, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  8. Four and The Door

    I liked Meg even before the unions started bashing her. She spoke at a local Chamber of Commerce meeting. She has an excellent plan for California based on strong values and a good philosophy about how organizations work and run well. I don't think anyone can argue that she hasn't proven herself capable of executing plans.

    June 2, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  9. Bob in PA

    It only works for Unions when you spend money that you have bilked from unwitting members that don't have a voice in what you say.

    June 2, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. joel palmer

    The funniest thing about all this is that the people who are spending her money haven't told her; she doesn't have a chance.

    And that goes double for Carly

    June 2, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. No on Meg

    We in CA have had enough of this woman's repulsive campaign spending and ridiculous TV ads. And, backed by Dick Cheney? NO thanks, Meg, that along sealed your fate in CA.

    June 2, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  12. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Of course "unions target Whitman in lead up to GOP primary!" Unions are forever after having their members over-paid for doing as little as possible and being protected from their own laziness and incompetence.

    Unions are fundamentally a legally protected monopolies on specific classes of labour, and that should no more be allowed than corporate monopolies on goods and services. Monopolies always, always, always result in higher prices for poorer quality, an it doesn't matter whether its a monopoly in a corporate sector or a monopoly on labour.

    Further, unions, as a result of legal protection, are highly irresponsible. Look at California, where government union members are paid a lot more for the same job than they're paid elsewhere and, even in the face of economic collapse are still demanding their outrageous wages, regardless of the fact that the state is broke. The unions just don't care about that. They want "their" money, and if it drives California into default, or drives any one, or any corporation, with money out of the state to avoid paying outrageous taxes, they don't care about that either. Utter, abject, irresponsibility.

    June 2, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  13. Mark

    Unions are what bankrupted GM and will keep the American tax payer paying their fees.

    June 2, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. JP

    Unions and illegals are destroying Calfornia financially. If both of these groups are for her she must deserve to win.

    June 2, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  15. kat

    The Unions have contributed to the state of our nation. Anything or anyone they support, I have to question. If they are against Meg Whitman, she must be an excellent candidate.

    June 2, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  16. A keen observer

    Another corrupt republican trying to buy an election!

    June 2, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  17. phoenix86

    If California's unions are against Whitman, she has my vote. Unions in California are the largest contributor to the state's budget deficit.

    June 2, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  18. Willy Brown

    Here comes Barry's chi-town thugs!

    June 2, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  19. hangemhi

    Why would one spend millions of dollars on a 100k/yr job? There must be more to this than I am aware of!

    June 2, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  20. Futon Torpedo

    Of course she isn't going to support the Arizona law. anybody with half a brain that is running for office in that part of the country isn't going to support it. Well except those running in Arizona.

    June 2, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  21. dAvid, CA

    Meg Whitman has run one of the most dishonest campaigns I've ever witnessed in my many years as a Californian.

    June 2, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  22. Phil

    If unions don't like her, that means she is the best candidate.

    June 2, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  23. Brian T.

    We've all heard the Whiteman and Poisoner ads shouting "no amnesty, no amnesty!"

    We know what they are against. What we haven't heard is what they are FOR.

    But of course...."Deportation! Deportation!" doesn't have quite the same ring to it, does it?

    Think, California, THINK!!!


    June 2, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  24. Obama the liar

    typical union goon/chicago style tactics...these democratic socialist will stop at nothing to control this Country.

    June 2, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  25. NAM VET

    The unions have always targeted anyone who does not serve their
    own greedy agenda's. Thats just the way they do business.

    June 2, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
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