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Can Whitman draw Latinos to the GOP?

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TalkBackLAContinuing her aggressive courtship of Latino voters, GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman opened a campaign office in East Los Angeles and announced new Spanish-language advertisements aimed at this vital voter group. But her words were interrupted by a raucous crowd of protesters outside.

"There has not been a Republican candidate for governor that has had an office in East L.A. for 30 years. So we are going to fight for every vote," she said as protesters picketed, chanted and banged drums outside the strip-mall venue.

After the event, Whitman headed to the conservative "John and Ken" show on KFI-AM (640). The hosts for weeks have been hammering the candidate for pivoting on illegal immigration.

The interview was combative and tense. Whitman danced around many of their questions, such as why geography and size make Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigration unworkable in California, or why she is running ads about Latino children but not those of other ethnicities.

Read Times political writer Seema Mehta's full story about Whitman's Latino strategy here. Can the strategy -- and Whitman's balancing act -- work? Share your views below.

Photo: Meg Whitman greets Jose Arevalo and other supporters at the opening of her East Los Angeles office. The Republican gubernatorial candidate is aggressively courting the important Latino vote. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

 
Comments () | Archives (10)

I am a latino and I will be voting for Whitman. For those of you who aren't old enough or don't remember, Jerry Brown was a catastrophy for our state. I am concerned that Whitman went on air with the neo nazi racists John and Ken. Their hatred for latin people is down right scary, its amazing that KFI lets them get away with saying what they do.

I hear a lot of talk about Meg Whitman, and, job creation.
Why would I trust or vote for her when in fact as, CEO if Ebay she outsourced a lot if jobs overseas.
Jobs that should have stayed right here in California.

She didn't seem to concerned then, why should we trust her now?

What Meg claims to believe depends on who she is talking to. Latinos would be fools to vote for her. She will not support them any more than she will the English speakers she makes claims to. It's a sad thing for CA that our only other choice is Brown. Where are the independents? The future is bleak. Abandon hope all ye who enter CA.

Third world here we come.

What a hypocrite!

I would think that her stance on pension reform and smaller gov't to leave more money for the important things would appeal to Latinos and non-Latinos alike... especially after the Bell fiasco.

Whitman hired the most expensive political consultants and can be trusted to say whatever is calculated to garner her the most votes. Her campaign depends on the ignorance and disinterest of the electorate. Remember Michael Huffington, who spent $28 million (a record back then) in failed attempt to buy a Senate seat. In the end she'll be disappointed to find that people aren't quite as stupid as she imagines them to be.

I am Latina, born in East LA, but American first. I was disappointed with Meg in her interview with John and Ken from kfi640. First, for the record, I may not agree with John and Ken on everything, but they are NOT racist. They are against ILLEGAL immigration, not LEGAL immigration-there's a difference. Why do minorities always have to pull the race card? Are Americans against all muslims? No, we are very much against Islamic extremists and radicals who want to KILL us. Meg may not be the best candidate, but look at the alternative. Fellow Latinos and other minorities
, please don't fall for the “race trap”. It's a DISTRACTION. When politicians and lobbyists bring up race, it's to distract us from what they are doing in Sacramento and Washington. They're saying “look over here, look at what my right hand is doing … don't look at what my left hand is doing”.

Last time I checked, the unemployment rate in Fresno County was 40% and most farmers were only planting 50% of their land because they didn't have water – not because there is a drought, because the environmentalists successfully lobbied Sacramento about saving the delta smelt. What's a “little sacrifice” to save this little fish? I am all for preserving our environment and endangered species, but to kill desperately needed JOBS seems a tad extreme. Something tells me that the 40% unemployment rate is actually much higher because a lot of people that can't find work will MOVE to a place where they can. And who does this hurt the most? Hint: the poor, middle class, and LATINOS because they are the ones who work the fields and need these jobs. The unemployment rate in El Centro hit 50% several months back – another farm town.

Legislation after legislation we'll find many more examples of this. The people that career politicians claim to help and support in reality are hurt by what they do in Sacramento and Washington. The Democrats claim they are for immigrant rights, for minorities, for the poor … And we fall for it. The Republicans are not any better. That's why I keep saying “career politicians”. They lie to our faces. Meanwhile, they keep getting elected to their cushy jobs, with their cushy salaries, benefits, pensions, and freebies. Salaries for the state legislature, despite an 18% pay cut last December, start at $ 95k and go up from there with the highest office, the governor, making almost $ 174k – plus an automobile allowance between $ 287.00 and $ 328.00 a month, a Per Diem allowance for living expenses of $141.86 when in Sacramento, district office expenses, mileage on personal cars, postage, and health benefits. The state pays for commercial transportation. Their retirement pension is 2/3 of their salary – adjusted for inflation, of course.

Look through the smoke and mirrors. Let's vote all those bums and freeloaders in the state legislature out of office. Let's vote ALL incumbents out of office – Democrats and Republicans. Send them a message. Meg, or anyone else, is not going to accomplish anything with those, “career politicians” in Sacramento.

Why is she so concerned with the latino vote? Yes there is a lot of latinos in CA (3-4x too many to me), but only a small fraction can vote. Illegals and other foreigners luckily can't
She should care more about the average American

Comment to the first poster: John and Ken on radio KFI640 AM do not hate latino people if they are here in moderation, and legally.

That fact that 50 union people were outside banging drums and making noise shows that they are scared and realize the potential. But the bigger question is: Where is Jerry Brown? No ads, no Spanish language handouts, no Spanish language website, ... nothing. Where is his plan to create jobs, fix education and deal with the problems of Sacramento? He offers no outline, plan and the only he seems to do right is get it all wrong.


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