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Nurses plan theatrics outside Meg Whitman fundraisers

April 23, 2010 | 11:41 am

Over the last decade, the members of the California Nurses Assn. have built a reputation as the guerrilla warriors of the Democratic Party. It was the nurses who led the PR assault on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger during his 2005 special election. Now they've got Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman in their sights, producing a series of staged events outside Whitman fundraisers this week.

Whitman has been traveling with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, raising money across the state. On Thursday night, the nurses brought a horse-drawn carriage to the Beverly Hills Hilton to welcome "the queen and her court," as CNA spokesman Chuck Idelson referred to Whitman and her supporters.

In Sacramento on Friday, the CNA is planning to file an initiative "to dispense with the election, since Whitman is just trying to buy it anyways," Idelson said.

"This is just the latest political stunt from a partisan labor union group that's interested in defending the status quo of higher taxes and more spending to the detriment of California," said Whitman spokeswoman Sarah Pompei.

The theatrics will continue Friday night in Redwood City when Whitman joins Romney, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for a fundraiser. But Idelson wasn't tipping his hand. "We've got a special action planned in Redwood City," he said. "But we're still putting some finishing touches on that one."

Whether the performances have any impact on the race is up for debate, but the nurses have proved masterful at getting media attention for their made-for-television political stunts.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento