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Poizner closes out with a bang

June 8, 2010 |  7:12 am

Steve Poizner’s last campaign event was in keeping with the last two months of his gubernatorial campaign. Subtle, he was not.

The state insurance commissioner took to a stage in Pasadena flanked with two monitors that read: “No amnesty. Stop illegal immigration.” He was introduced by Mike Alexander of the Pasadena Patriots, a "tea party" group, who said the election of the next governor “will largely determine the direction of the United States.”

“The modern welfare state is collapsing as we speak, and the next governor of California will either preside over the rebirth of this Golden State or its funeral, we don’t know which,” Alexander said.

Poizner was not quite that apocalyptic, but he told supporters that the state was “bankrupt” in part because of an influx of illegal immigrants and the departure of businesses.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is the worst of all worlds,” he said. “We have consumers of government services coming in, we have taxpayers leaving; no wonder we cannot balance the budget.”

(In a brief question-and-answer session after his remarks, Poizner was asked by one attendee whether he would favor giving live ammunition to the National Guard troops he has vowed to station at the Mexico border if he becomes governor. “Absolutely, yes,” Poizner said.)

Poizner criticized the Republican front-runner, former EBay chief Meg Whitman, for having spent millions of dollars of her own money “attacking me falsely and incorrectly.”

“You’ve got to ask the question … what is she trying to compensate for?” he asked. And then he answered: her paltry voting record and her past support of Barbara Boxer.

In his case, Poizner said, he is “a lifelong Republican, a lifelong conservative.”

On the final day of the primary campaign, he took a last swipe at the rationale for Whitman’s candidacy.

“Meg Whitman keeps saying we just need to run California like a business,” he said. “Well, it’s not a board room in Sacramento. We’re not running for CEO. We’re running for governor.”

-- Cathleen Decker in Pasadena