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Whitman campaign calls housekeeper issue a 'coordinated political attack'

September 30, 2010 |  4:01 pm

Meg Whitman's political team is calling revelations about Whitman's undocumented housekeeper "clearly a coordinated political attack" by attorney Gloria Allred, labor unions and Jerry Brown's campaign. 

But the campaign said earlier statements by Whitman that she and husband Griffith Harsh had not been notified by Social Security officials inquiring about the housekeeper's status may be incorrect. 

Instead, Whitman's campaign focused on attorney Gloria Allred, who first brought allegations forward that the Whitmans knowingly employed an undocumented immigrant, Nicandra Diaz Santillan,for more than nine years. 

Whitman spokesman Rob Stutzman joined Whitman's attorney Tom Hiltachk on a call with reporters this afternoon, trying to shift the spotlight in this story to Brown. 

“We love having Gloria Allred as a foil because people know she’s everything they hate about the legal system," said Whitman advisor Mike Murphy in an interview. 

 “Meg seems very sympathetic in this, you can tell Meg feels very badly about Nicki’s situation,” Murphy said.

Murphy said Brown's campaign was behind the timing of the revelations. 
“It’s some sleazy old political trick from a sleazy old politician," he said. 

Meg Whitman accused the Brown campaign of being behind the housekeeper dust-up, saying she had heard a report from Bay Area television reporter Randy Shandobil that he was contacted about the matter two weeks ago. 

Sterling Clifford, a spokesman for Jerry Brown, said he had spoken with Shandobil and others about rumors he heard that Whitman had hired undocumented workers. But he said the campaign had no knowledge of Diaz Santillan’s case until the story broke Wednesday. 

“We [Randy and I] had a conversation about things as I’ve had with many people about things to ask Meg Whitman, but our campaign has had no contact with Gloria Allred or Ms. Diaz,” he said. “I think that the question to be answered today is who’s handwriting is on the letter and what did Meg Whitman know and when did she know it?”

Murphy said he did not believe the revelations would impact Whitman's standing among Latino voters. "They care about jobs and we’ve been in that community communicating for a year trying to earn their support every day," he said. 

-- Seema Mehta, Michael J. Mishak and Anthony York


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Whitman's husband says 'it is possible' handwriting on letter is his