Throng greets Meg Whitman at Glendale bakery
A Meg Whitman campaign stop at a popular Cuban bakery in Glendale turned chaotic Friday.
The GOP gubernatorial nominee was greeted by a boisterous crowd that police estimated at more than 100 at the already packed business, with some patrons yelling at her to "get out of Glendale" and "go home."
Whitman struggled to move through the throng of reporters and curious onlookers, her voice largely drowned out by the shouting as she tried to speak to customers. She made no attempt to address the crowd.
"It’s was scary," said Lola Jones, 80, of Glendale, who covered her ears and politely asked -- to no avail -- if those surrounding her table would back away. "Maybe she should have gone to a park where there is more space."
Before Whitman arrived, members of a nurses’ union that has dogged her campaign for months were already in place outside Porto's Bakery and Cafe, marching and chanting and led by an actress wearing a crown and depicting the candidate as "Queen Meg." She was accompanied by "Princess Carly," an actress draped in a tattered purple velvet cape, spoofing Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina.
After wading through the crowd, Whitman made her way upstairs to a back room where she met with reporters. She attributed the protest to unions fighting to maintain their influence in Sacramento.
"They know if I’m governor their hand is going to be weakened," Whitman said.
When asked about polls showing her trailing Democratic candidate Jerry Brown by double digits, she again trotted out internal polls purporting to show the race as a dead heat.
"Polls, schmolls," she said. "The only poll that really matters is the poll on election day."
And she deflected a question about the undocumented housekeeper she once employed, whom she said Wednesday should be deported. Repeating a comment she made Thursday, she said, "People want to talk about how they are going to stay in their house, not my housekeeper."
After the excitement inside the bakery died down a bit, Patricia Rios, 32, and her husband, Gamatiel Rios, 31, of Glendale, said they were still unsure whom they would vote for but admired Whitman’s conservatism. Gamatiel Rios, originally from Guatemala, grabbed a quick word with the candidate as she passed through.
"I asked her, 'What will you do for us Hispanics?' " Rios said in Spanish. "She told me she will bring more jobs."
-- Stephen Ceasar in Glendale