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Whitman Breaks Campaign Spending Record, Faces Tough Crowd



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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Meg Whitman has added another 15 million dollars of her own wealth to her campaign war chest…bringing the total she's pitched in to 119 million.  That sets a new record for a self-funded candidate in the United States - surpassing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  Most polls put the race between Whitman and Democratic opponent Jerry Brown very close.  Does the former Ebay C-E-O think she's getting her money's worth?:

"I believe I have.  You know, I've been running now for two years and I've invested in an entire campaign but I am delighted with where we are."

Whitman says given Brown's name recognition - and the fact that labor unions are also spending money on his behalf, her money is a good investment:

"You can't underestimate the union spending.  They've spent 15 or 16 million dollars to date, they're continuing to ramp up and it takes a lot of money to be competitive in California."

Whitman made the comments at an intense campaign stop in San Francisco.  She spoke to several hundred employees at Yelp, a consumer review website - and took some pretty tough questions from them. For instance, this one from 24 year-old Yelp sales employee Susan McKay:

"Why would you both knowingly and purposely run a campaign that is based on lies?  Also, 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 is going to help California's problems in any way."

McKay was referring to a Whitman ad that features former President Bill Clinton criticizing Jerry Brown's record on taxes during a 1992 Presidential Primary debate.  Clinton's comments were based on a CNN story, which the reporter now says wasn't entirely accurate.  Here's part of Whitman's answer:

"The essentials of that ad are absolutely true and so my view is I have to as a serious candidate for Governor, point out Jerry Brown's real record."

McKay said she wasn't satisfied with Whitman's reply.  The candidate also got questions about her stance on same-sex marriage - which she opposes, and her record-breaking spending. Jerry Brown has said the fact that Whitman has outspent him so dramatically - yet the polls remain fairly even means Californians may have stopped listening to her message.
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