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Steve Poizner, Meg Whitman battle for Ronald Reagan mantle

March 2, 2010 | 11:13 am

Republican gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner have resorted to name-calling as the primary election campaign heats up. And in Republican circles, there's no insult more cutting than the dreaded L-word, which has been injected into the race in recent days.

In his new television spot, Poizner refers to the "liberal Meg Whitman." Whitman, meanwhile, pulled a little political judo move, using Poizner's own words against him in a new online video and stating that Poizner "is not a conservative."

Both candidates have labeled themselves "Reagan conservatives" in their ads -- ironic, perhaps, because both have contributed to Democratic candidates.

But Whitman's claim earned the ire of the California Pro-Life Council, which called her candidacy "unacceptable to millions of California Pro-Life voters. Whitman's position that there should be no limitations on taxpayer funding of abortion is clear repudiation of Ronald Reagan's commitment to the value of individual human lives."

We'll see if the eventual winner of this primary is still trumpeting the conservative message after the primary.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento