Ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman‘s (R) reputation as CEO “is the central pitch in her bid” but the ongoing trial between eBay and Craigslist “is threatening to undermine a pillar of her candidacy.”
After testimony painted Whitman in an unflattering light, GOP and Dems opponents “moved to take advantage of the controversy in the absence of a Whitman response.” Video clips of testimony “are now circulating on the Internet, and Whitman’s foes have attempted to advance the theme that perhaps she is not the talented and effective business leader” the state needs.
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Whitman’s camp said “because the trial is ongoing and Whitman is a central player,” she is “unable to answer any of the charges against her leadership abilities.”
A spokesperson for Insurance Commis. Steve Poizner (R) “adopted” language from a witness “to drive home the Poizner campaign’s consistent theme that Whitman’s private-sector experience is not all it’s cracked up to be.”
Poizner spokesperson Jarrod Agen: “There are two Meg Whitmans. Meg publicly campaigns as a Republican, but her actions prove otherwise. This trial further demonstrates why Republicans should be skeptical to trust Meg Whitman’s rhetoric on the campaign trail.”
Ex-NRCC comm. dir. Karen Hanretty “said it’s easy to understand why Whitman’s foes have seized on the trial.”
Hanretty: “They are laying the groundwork for that narrative so that this is on the minds of reporters. This isn’t about voters right now; this is about building a narrative for the media so that if she is caught in a moment where she snaps at a voter or a reporter, they can turn that around and say, ‘See, this is who we’ve been telling you she is all along.’”
Several CA GOPers told Politico “there is a widespread belief in GOP circles” that the offending testimony “has at least some political motivation” as Craigslist founder Craig Newmark “is a prominent” Dem donor.
Ex-CA GOP Chair Shawn Steel: “It’s absolutely a factor. He’s not just a big Democratic donor; he’s the George Soros of the Internet.” But Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster, who spoke on the stand of “two Meg Whitmans,” unlike Newmark, “does not appear in the” FEC donor database for either party (Barr, Politico, 12/22).
The Great Eight?
Harvard Business Review ranked Whitman eighth in its listing of “200 best-performing CEOs, applauding her tenure” at eBay. Harvard analyzed nearly 2K CEOs of large public companies who started between ‘95 and ‘07 (“The Buzz,” Sacramento Bee, 12/22).
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A Russian government think tank run by Putin loyalists "developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system." Two confidential documents from the Putin-backed Institute for Strategic Studies, obtained by U.S. intelligence, provide "the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election."
"The FBI last year used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump's campaign as part of the justification" to monitor Carter Page, who was then a defense adviser to the Trump campaign. "The dossier has also been cited by FBI Director James Comey in some of his briefings to members of Congress in recent weeks."
"The Air Force is set to deploy its high-tech, fifth-generation F-35A fighter jets to Europe this weekend as part of an effort to assure U.S. allies there who are worried about Russian aggression." The new, state-of-the-art fighters will train with European air units. "The Pentagon noted that the deployment had been long planned, meaning it was not a reaction to recent increasing tensions between the United States and Russia," although a statement noted the move is part of the "European Reassurance Initiative," which began three years ago when Russia annexed Crimea.