The first chance “to hear what” the GOP candidates “sound like, live, unscripted and grilled by someone who knows how to ask questions” comes this morning on the “highly-rated ‘Ronn Owens Program’” on AM radio. Insurance Commis. Steve Poizner (R) and ‘00 SEN nominee/ex-Rep. Tom Campbell (R) “will show” but ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman (R) won’t.
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Whitman spokesperson Sarah Pompei: “Meg’s schedule is set weeks in advance and we received this invitation with only one week’s notice. We were not able to rearrange her schedule so that she could participate. Currently, we’re working with Ronn Owens’ producer to set up an interview, so Meg and Ronn can discuss the important issues facing the state.”
The larger question: “Does the Whitman camp — with a ton of cash in the bank, much of it courtesy of the billionaire — need ‘free media?’” Whitman “may feel little pressure to indulge in such joint appearances in the future while she’s still getting her poltiical sea legs” (Garofoli, “Politics Blog,” San Francisco Chronicle, 9/8).
Not A Flash In The Pan
“Of all the candidates running” Campbell “may be the least flashy.” But “he’s got quite the resume.” Campbell met with editors and reporters at the Bakersfield Californian 9/9 to outline his views.
“With a lifetime of conservative credentials,” Campbell “nevertheless refuses to be tied down by orthodox statements and positions.” For example, “philosophically, he opposes new taxes and favors lower taxes — if it’s consistent with balancing the budget.” But “he’s not about to rule out taxes completely, especially in a fiscal emergency” that he says has seen the state rank “worst in the nation in classroom overcrowding.”
If he must “resort to a new tax, he favors a broad-based tax on gasoline.” In the long run, Campbell “believes he can fix” the state’s “mess by building an annual budget based on the previous year’s revenue, not projections of revenues that often turn out to be wishful thinking.” He would also “support a fiscal system that automatically cuts spending when revenue falls.”
But Campbell “has one major problem as he looks toward” the primary. “How can he win” against GOPers “who can boast huge personal fortunes or massive campaign war chests filled with corporate and individual contributions?” Campbell said “in a state that leans Democratic, his common sense fiscal conservatism will appeal” Dems, GOPers, and Independents, “giving him an advantage” (Mayer, 9/9).
Sounds Like Poison
Washington Post‘s Will writes, “Becoming governor next year will be a daunting challenge” for Poizner, but he “has surmounted other obstacles, as when he volunteered to teach without pay in an East San Jose high school. After he sold, for $1 billion, one of the technology companies he founded after moving to California from Texas, and after serving as a White House fellow, he walked into San Jose’s school district office, explained that he graduated No. 1 in his class at the University of Texas, earned a Stanford business degree and now wanted to teach American government to high school seniors. A functionary declared: ‘Nothing you have said qualifies you to be in the classroom.’”
Poizner “expects to benefit from the electorate’s mood swings. In 2003, it soured on Gray Davis, the archetypal political lifer (he was Gov. Jerry Brown‘s chief of staff), replacing him with Schwarzenegger, who then was the muscular amateur and who now is the incredible shrinking action hero. Poizner thinks California’s dialectic of disgust will elevate him — a slight, bespectacled entrepreneur who is the only Republican other than Schwarzenegger to be elected statewide since 1994. Getting a state sickened by multiple toxic policies to elect someone whose name sounds like poison may be difficult, but perhaps not more so than getting to teach, unpaid, in East San Jose” (9/10).
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