Poizner: Whitman likes Democrats. Whitman: Poizner likes them more [Updated]
Steve Poizner has expanded beyond immigration issues in his efforts to out-conservative Meg Whitman on the airwaves in the race for governor. In his new radio ad, below, Poizner attempts to rally Republicans against her by tying her to a pair of Democrats -- former vice-president and presidential candidate Al Gore, and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.); and to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who many conservatives consider a turncoat Republican for some of his more centrist stances.
In his ad, "Only One," Poizner enlists Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Granite Bay), who previously made similar comments on his behalf in a taped video message at the state GOP convention, to say he is the only real conservative in the race and that Whitman would be another Schwarzenegger.
Whitman's folks say published reports saying she backed Gore in 2000 are wrong, and that she contributed to Boxer because of legislation the senator was pushing relating to the Internet.
Poizner’s camp then produced other articles quoting Whitman as saying she (and EBay, where she was the CEO) hadn’t decided whether to support a Republican or Democrat. “Both have, both parties have done good things for the Internet space over the last two,” she told Fox News, according to a transcript Poizner’s campaign sent out. “Again, you know, we're just going to wait to see who gets through the primaries and look at their exact platforms and then make a decision whether it makes sense for, you know, the company or myself to endorse someone. But we don't, we don't have a point of view right now."
In a statement, Whitman’s campaign co-chairs, Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) and Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), said Poizner was distorting the facts: “Meg Whitman supported President Bush, and contributed to his campaign. The truth is there's 'only one' candidate, Steve Poizner, who not only contributed $21,000 to elect Al Gore, he went on to brag about his support of Gore during his 2004 campaign.”
[Updated at 12:34 p.m.: It should be noted that while both sides argue over which presidential candidate Whitman supported in 2000, she did not vote for either of them because she wasn't registered to vote at that time.]
-- Michael Rothfeld