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Press Clips: Waxman vs. Finke, Round 164

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

waxman_cropThere they go again: The week’s most entertaining blogosphere smackdown features go-for-the-jugular rivals Nikki Finke and Sharon Waxman clashing over reports of the possible sale of NBC Universal, a high-stakes business and entertainment story capturing interest from Wall Street to the Walk of Fame.

Escalating an online feud of Paris-Lindsay dimension, Waxman got things started with a report at The Wrap that Comcast is poised to buy NBC Universal from GE for $35 billion.

Finke, ever eager to proclaim that it’s all about her, posted a quick knockdown at Deadline Hollywood Daily, dumping on Waxman’s scoop as “an internet blog’s bullshit” and avowing that she had it first anyway. Which is sort of like complaining a restaurant’s food is terrible, and, by the way, the portions are too damn small.145_nikkifinke

Then she took a second whack at Waxman, after CNBC’s David Faber pooh-poohed The Wrap report on the air:

“How humiliating for that struggling Hollywood blog, which might fare better to remember that it takes a long time to build a reputation for news accuracy, and just a blink of the eye to lose the trust of readers.”

Ouch.

To her credit, Waxman didn’t take the bait, but kept her focus, doubling down by following up her own story with more details, leaving Finke to do little but shout “bullshit” yet again.

Though we admire the passionate ferocity with which Finke plays the game, we know Waxman as a first-rate journalist, who covered the entertainment beat for both the Washpost and NYT before moving to the Wild West world of blogging, and who really doesn’t need lectures on crediblity from Ms. Potty Mouth. Bottom line: The Wrap report will either turn out to be on the money or not, so it’s a little early for Finke to be doing touchdown dances and taunting in the end zone.

Calbuzz on the trend curve: Thanks to our friend Joe Trippi for Joe_Trippi1pointing us to an article in the Guardian  noting that the United Kingdom has become the first major economy to spend more on internet ads than TV advertisements. This,  according to a report from the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Guardian reports:

“The internet now accounts for 23.5% of all advertising money spent in the UK, while TV ad spend accounts for 21.9% of marketing budgets.

“The IAB originally predicted that internet ad spend would overtake TV at the end of 2009; however, the crippling advertising recession accelerated this by six months. TV advertising fell about 17% year on year in the first half, to about £1.6bn, according to the report.”

Businesses are finding that for a whole lot less money than print or broadcast advertising, they can get a lot of eyeballs on their message by placing ads with online publications like — you guessed it — Calbuzz.com. At least that’s what our Department of Shameless Self Promotion argues.

PS:  Regarding  Joe working for Jerry Brown’s campaign for governor, which Joe Garofoli breathlessly noted after Joe tweeted in support of Crusty: This is such old news that it wasn’t even its own item when we mentioned it back in June...and by the way, the deal is not inked, whether Joe will do media, general consulting or what is not established…’cause, after all, it’s Jerry Brown we’re talking about here.

33997242-john-ensignAnatomy of corruption: Timesmen Eric Lichtblau and Eric Lipton churned out a splendid case study of how Washington Really Works with their investigative takedown of creepo Nevada Senator John Ensign, and his vigorous efforts to cover up his stomach-churning behavior after  boffing the wife of a top aide and close personal friend.

“Judgment gets impaired by arrogance, and that’s what’s going here,”  Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, who aided and abetted Ensign’s scandalous actions, tells the Erics.

Give us a break. Coburn’s abstract, devil-made-him-do-it verbal construction is typical of how holier-than-thou Republicans always seem to dodge straightforward accountability and personal responsibility when they get caught with their pants down.

It’s hard out therhannah_giles--300x300-thumb-300x300e for a pimp: Jerry Brown is getting whacked from the left for opening an investigation of those Big Brains in several ACORN offices who got caught on camera giving business advice on prostitution to the spawn of Yuppie scum posing as a hooker and pimp. C’mon — the guy is, after all, the Attorney General of California and would be guilty of first-degree putting his thumb on the scale if he didn’t look into the scandal. To his credit, Crusty also plans to investigate possible law breaking by the video auteurs for taping people without their consent.

The very rich are very different from you and me: Although Calbuzz advertising revenues are soaring, (see above),  we once again  missed the cut-off for the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans (price of admission: $1.3 billion). Confirmed, if increasingly ineffectual, capitalists, we felt mostly slack-jawed envy at the news that the 400’s collective wealth totals $1.57 trillion; our deep-rooted SDS DNA, however, tells us a more appropriate reaction is the outrage expressed admirably by “The Looting of America” author Les Leopold here.

Drill, officer, drill: The pitch for an endorsement by the largest cop union in the state by termed-out Assemblyman Pedro Nava, a Democratic contender for Attorney General,  fell short in part because of his aggressive leadership in opposing the controversial Tranquillon Ridge oil ted-williamsproject off the coast of Santa Barbara. What does policing have to do with platforms for offshore drilling? For one thing, both the Peace Officers Research Association of California and PXP, sponsors of T-Ridge, are represented by the same Sacto lobbyist, Aaron Read & Associates. The reliable Timm Herdt connects the dots here.

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: No word on whether the guy who whacked Ted Williams’s cryonically frozen head with a wrench can hit the curve ball.


Shooting the Wounded: Yudof Channels Will Durst

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

yudoftimesEmbattled UC President Mark Yudof got off a couple zingers to Deborah Solomon in the New York Times magazine over the weekend, but furloughed faculty members and administrators at campuses around the state aren’t laughing very much.

Yudof sat still for the infamous “Questions for” column, in which Solomon conducts a Q&A with a celebrity or newsmaker, then edits and pares the transcript down to the money lines. The result is displayed  with a semi-formal, posed photo of the subject which, in this case, made the UC prez look like a human bowling ball in pinstripes.

While Solomon asked some serious, tough questions about UC’s budget woes, Yudof unfortunately did his best to be flip, a poor man’s Will Durst act that came across as tone deaf, given the walk-outs, teach-ins and job actions now roiling the system.

Q: Already professors on all 10 UC campuses are taking required “furloughs,” to use a buzzword.
A: Let me tell why we used it. The faculty said “furlough” sounds more temporary than “salary cut,” and being president of the University of California is like being manager of a cemetery; there are many people under you, but no one is listening. I listen to them.”

Solomon also asked about the prickly issue of Yoda’s compensation which, with that of other top administrators, has been the focus of political outrage in Sacramento.

Q: Some people feel you could close the UC budget gap by cutting administrative salaries, including your own.
A: The stories of my compensation are greatly exaggerated.
Q: When you began your job last year, your annual compensation was reportedly $828,000.
A: It actually was $600,000 until I cut my pay by $60,000. So my salary is $540,000, but it gets amplified because people say, ‘You have a pension plan.”
Q: What about your housing allowance? How much is the rent on your home in Oakland?

A:
It’s about $10,000 a month…

Q: What do you think of the idea that no administrator at a state university needs to earn more than the president of the United Sates, $400,000?
A: Will you throw in Air Force One and the White House?

Not surprisingly, soon after the Times posted the piece on its web site, UC list-servs were crackling with anger at what was perceived as Yudof’s cavalier attitude towards the sacrifices being made by professors, students and staff members, a group of whom dashed off a letter to the editor decrying Mr. President’s “apres moi, le deluge” commentary.

One less measured academic type put the matter more succinctly in a collegial e-blast:  “Take comfort in the fact that Yudof makes himself look like the total dick that he is.”.

Add UC: Peter Schrag, in a characteristically thoughtful analysis, casts a skeptical eye at last week’s “walk out” by UC faculty protesting the searing injustice of not being allowed to take furlough on days they’re supposed to be teaching.

clintcasualClint disses eMeg: Back in the day, when he ran winning campaigns for San Francisco politicians who later achieved national prominence, like Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi, Clint Reilly’s nickname around town was “Satan.”

He got the moniker from politically connected attorney Jeremiah Hallisey and his pals, who awarded it after Reilly left the services of their crony, longtime state senator Quentin Kopp, to go to work for Feinstein, Q-ball’s arch-enemy back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth.

Many adventures later, Reilly has mellowed and morphed into a successful real estate investor and esteemed member of the Bay Area’s eleemosynary community, but he hasn’t lost his knack for sharp political analysis, as in a new piece on the premise and politics of Meg Whitman’s campaign for governor.

“The conceit of America’s business elite is striking. Even after our entire financial system was nearly scuttled last year through the incompetence and greed of so many ‘brilliant’ executives, they continue to peddle the myth that they are better qualified to run the country than anyone else.

“…While watching the bottom line is an important skill, negotiating with the multiple factions in the public sector is far different than sending an executive edict to a corporate division head.

“Corporations and the military have command structures and a strict hierarchy of authority. Democracy does not. Change depends on a leader’s ability to inspire, cajole and intimidate in an arena where almost no one is dependent on the leader for their livelihood and where a leader has no direct authority over an interest group or even a citizen. In a democracy, the leader works for the people. In a corporation, the people work for the leader.”

Check it over at California Progress Report.

Meanwhile, the Steve Poizner campaign — purely as a public service, we’re sure — has pulled together all the eMeg quotes, misquotes, unquotes and noquotes about Her Royal Voting Record and/or lack thereof, which you can find in one handy-dandy-double-duty-dual-sided click spot right here.

nate-silver

Boxer Rebounds: Nate Silver, the Blaise Pascal of American politics, is out with his new trend analysis  of 2010 Senate races, which finds Barbara Boxer strengthening her position and declares an earlier poll showing Carly Fiorina within four points “more of a fluke.” Silver is underwhelmed by Hurricane Carly:

“I’m on the record as not being that impressed by Fiorina as a political entity. I also want to go on the record as being unimpressed by the customer service at Hewlett-Packard, her former company, but we’ll save that complaint for a tweet or something.

calbuzzartBeware Calbuzz knockoffs: Our mystery spy has the final word on the state GOP convention: “Outside the entrance to the shake-off-the-hangover closing speeches at the GOPalooza Sunday a.m., a woman was handing out paper fans with Meg’s photo and ‘I am a huge fan of Van Jones’ on it.

When I asked who she was with, she responded, ‘Calbuzz.’

‘You mean, Calbuzz, the political website?’

And then she froze, with a Quayle-in-the-headlights look: ‘Uh, I mean…’ and then was hustled away by another woman, just as Chuck DeVore mounted the podium.

Now we know how Nike and Gucci feel.

eMeg Keeps Digging & DreamWorks Digs Jerry

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

pinnochioJust when Meg Whitman appeared to moving on to an explanation of WHY she was a non-voter most of her adult life, the GOP governor wannabe went on Ronn Owens’ KGO radio show Wednesday and dug herself in deeper, by accusing the Sacramento Bee of misreporting.

In his game changer investigation of Whitman’s voting record, the Bee’s Andrew McIntosh had written: “In an interview, Whitman said she was registered as a Republican before coming to California, but declined to say where the public record might be found. ‘Go find it,’ she said.”

But when Ronn asked her about that, eMeg claimed:  “I didn’t say that.”

To which SacBee Political Editor Amy Chance diplomatically replied: “We are very comfortable with our reporting. We have a tape of the interview.”

Which, if you consult your Calbuzz Decoder Ring, means, “Screw you, Meg, and thank you for that.”

During the KGO interview, Her Megness also took a question from Alex in San Diego, who asked flat out if the Bee story was true: Did she or did she not vote before 2002? To which Meg replied:

“So the answer is that I don’t think the Sacramento Bee article is entirely accurate but it doesn’t really matter because my voting record is not good.”

Oy. Another shot at the Bee. The paper did, in fact, have to run a correction on the original story – but it was about Steve Poizner’s voting record, not Whitman’s. Said the Bee’s Chance about this Whitman comment: “We’ve not been asked to correct anything about our reporting on her record.”

Bottom line: as a put-this-matter-behind-me exercise in damage control, eMeg’s performance was damaging, and raised a host of new questions.

megmccain

The Meg & Sarah Show: Owens seemed most upset about the fact that Whitman, who served as a national co-chair of John McCain’s presidential campaign, refused to denounce Sarah Palin as unqualified for the White House.

Meg kept saying it was McCain’s choice to pick Palin as a running mate, not hers. Pushed by Owens, she finally said, “It probably would not have been the choice that I would have made.”

And when Owens said “You wouldn’t hire her for a high position at eBay for any reason – you wouldn’t.” Meg replied, “No, but the president elect, er, the nominee of the party, that’s one of the things they get to do, to make that choice.”

Oops. So Meg admits she never would have hired the woman she backed for vice president: Not good enough for eBay but no worries as backup Leader of the Free World. Got it, and thank you for that.

gavinjerryNot exactly Lincoln-Douglas: It didn’t take long for Jerry Brown to try to wiggle out of Gavin Newsom’s call for face-to-face debates by saying he’s not an official candidate for governor, and anyway, he’s far too busy investigating the untimely passings of Michael Jackson and Anna Nicole Smith or something.

“As you may know,” Crusty mouthpiece Steve Glazer responded to Newsom’s invitation to hold 11, 90-minute debates around the state, “Attorney General Brown is not a declared candidate for Governor. While he has processed the paperwork to create an exploratory committee for that office, he is currently focused on doing his job as Attorney General — protecting consumers and prosecuting criminals.”

To which we say: Bushwah.

Obviously, Newsom is making the debate pitch, just one day after Brown formed his exploratory committee, purely for reasons of political strategy. If Brown debates him, Prince Gavin’s stature is instantly elevated just by appearing on the same stage; if he refuses, Newsom and Newsom’s brain, Garry South, have a handy issue with which to poke and jab Jerry on a daily basis (see: Chicken Suit, Whitman).

That said, our Department of Weights and Measures has weighed the measured arguments that Newsom and Brown have made on the issue and concludes that a couple of early debates between the two is a damn fine idea (as long as the boys in W&M get to moderate).

For one thing, the state’s problems have become so big and intractable that the candidates ought to be eager, ready and willing to let Californians, who are suffering from skyrocketing unemployment, virulent recession and declining schools, have a full and detailed sense of who has ideas for tackling this stuff, and who doesn’t, but is hoping to campaign and win with the same old, worn-out wheeze of 30-second sound bite spots.

For another, Brown really is shamelessly coasting, using the political version of Muhammad Ali’s aging champ rope-a-dope strategy. Although his pursuit of a May-December governorship trick is unprecedented in California, he’s been remarkably elusive about discussing what he wants to do, and would do differently, except for his Calbuzz interview waychicken_suit_costume back in April.

Progressive Democrats particularly have a right to know which Jerry Brown they’d be nominating if they go for him in the primary, as the Dayen of Delphi argues persuasively over at Calitics.

It’s time for Crusty to suit up and get on the field. Debate — or face the Chicken’s Wrath.

skgJerry Goes Hollywood: After enduring days of chortling by Team Newsom about Bubba Clinton’s endorsement and fundraising gig, the Brown Bunch fired back with a big buzz item of their own, planted in Variety: the founders of  DreamWorks – Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen – will co-host a mondo glitterati fundraising kickoff bash for Jerry on Nov. 18.

“This will be a big launching pad for his campaign here,” said Andy Spahn, political consultant for the trio. (It’s the kind of thing that leads our friend Roger Salazar, who has worked with Newsom advisor Garry South and against Brown in the AG’s race, to declare today in Capitol Weekly his belief that Jerry will be the next goveernor.)

Looking at Brown’s wizened visage, it’s sometimes easy to forget he was the original rock star politician. Take that Elvis!

eMeg’s Vote Dodge, Jerry’s $$, Parsky’s Dead Meat

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

megartWhether or not you think Meg Whitman’s shoddy voting record alone disqualifies her to be governor of California, the more fundamental issue in the controversy is whether she’s telling the truth about it.

As Whitman embarked on a media damage control tour,  including an interview with AP Tuesday and a scheduled appearance with KGO’s Ronn Owens today,  significant questions remained unanswered over her shifting versions of reality about her voting record.

Specifically, why did she make statements, in a speech to the Republican state convention on Feb. 21, 2009,  that were — and there’s no other way to put this — untrue?

In that speech to hundreds of delegates, Whitman a) falsely claimed that she had been registered to vote since 1998 and b)  set forth an elaborate, 81-word explanation for why she chose to register as an independent at that time – in support of her false claim.

“As you may have read, I’ve been a registered “decline to state” voter since 1998. As the CEO of a public company, with an enormous community of users and employees covering every imaginable political persuasion, I purposely made the decision to register DTS. I felt it was the right thing to do given my role at eBay. Once my eBay tenure was coming to an end and I became more involved with (Mitt Romney’s) campaign, I changed my registration back to Republican.

As the world now knows, thanks to Andrew McIntosh’s investigative Sac Bee report, Whitman never registered — as a Decline to State, a Republican or anything else — until 2002.

At a press conference on Saturday, Whitman was asked directly about the discrepancy between the statements in her February speech and the documentary record.

REPORTER: …you were registered in 1998, and there’s no record of that. Are you inferring that you did? The Bee reported after you were not registered at all before 2002.
WHITMAN: So when I came back to California, I registered in 2002, so I don’t know where that came from, but I registered in 2002 when I came back to California, so thank you for that.” (emphasis ours).

You don’t know where it came from? Try checking here, Your Megness.

Whitman managed to slip the punch on that key question, because the press was in full bay and didn’t follow up, although her flack  later tried to reconcile February and the facts by telling a reporter, “She misspoke, and it was wrong.”

But an 81-word passage in the prepared text of a formal speech to a state party convention can’t simply be dismissed as an off-hand misstatement. So why did she say what she said back in February? There are only three  explanations that we can think of:

1. A staff person put the statement in her speech, unbeknownst to her, and she simply read the text as written.

2. She delusionally believed at the time that she did register in 1998 and that she had done so as DTS – even though she had not registered, let alone DTS.

3. She knew it wasn’t true but said it anyway.

We asked press secretary Sarah Pompei again yesterday for an explanation of how Whitman came to make false statements in a major speech at a political convention.The best she could come up with was, “I wasn’t there” and “there was an error.”  We’ll say.

Calbuzz hopes that when eMeg appears on his show today, our old friend Ronn Owens will press her about which of these explanations is true, and not settle for the “I made a mistake” claptrap she’s been peddling since the Bee story broke.

jerryheadshotJerry Puts Toe in Water: To the surprise of no one, Attorney General Jerry Brown announced Tuesday he’s filing paperwork for with the Secretary of State for a “Brown for Governor 2010 Exploratory Committee.” This means that instead of raising funds under the limits that apply to the attorney general — $6,500 per person/per election, Crusty can now raise under limits for governor, which allow $25,900 per person/per election.

Of course, under the old limits, Brown already had stashed about $7 million on hand compared to about $1 million on hand for Prince Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, his Democratic primary foe. Quipped Brown adviser Steve Glazer: “Now we’re operating under the Gavin Newsom limits.”

Giving Brown plenty of room for a eMeg-style “official announcement” tour, Glazer added, “if he decides to run, I don’t expect him to make a decision until next year.”

Brown’s move to form a committee comes a week before Bill Clinton arrives in L.A. to give Newsom his formal blessing and headline a big fundraiser for the San Francisco mayor. Coincidence? You be the judge.

mousethatroared

Elephant gives birth to mouse: The Commission on the 21st Century Economy – or what Gov. Schwarzmuscle likes to call the “tax commission” – dropped its recommendations Tuesday, with support from only nine of its 14 members. There were some key players who didn’t sign on, including  Bill Hauck of the California Business Roundtable, renowned tax expert Richard Pomp and  ex-Assembly budget guru Fred Keeley.

Gerald Parsky, the Southern California investor and GOP bigwig who chaired the commission, brought along to a Sacto press conference John Cogan, senior fellow at the right-wing Hoover Institution at Stanford, and Chris Edley, longtime Democrat and dean of the Boalt Hall School of Law. It was easy to see why Cogan was happy with the commission’s report; what was unclear, and went unanswered was this question for Edley: what did the liberals get out of this?

Once Edley bought into the notion that any plan from the Parsky panel had to be “revenue neutral,” he was playing on the conservative’s turf. He had nothing to negotiate, nothing to win, and wound up playing the role of lap dog for the Boskin Wing of the commission. (But maybe if Schwarzenegger gets an opening on the California Supreme Court…)

In the world outside the Capitol press conference room, the plan drew immediate fire from all quarters.

Allan Zremberg of the California Chamber said, “the recommendation today from some members of the Commission on the 21st Century Economy is fatally flawed,” while California Labor Federation chief Art Pulaski called it “a profound disappointment, offering no solutions to better support our state’s middle class” and the California Tax Reform Association chimed in here, calling the report a “failure.” If you really want an eyeful of critique, from a blue chip economist whose bona fides are longer than a Calbuzz rant, read what Richard Pomp had to say about the recommendations.

When Big Bad Dan Walters pointed out to Parsky that both the Chamber and the labor federation were opposed to the commission’s call to flatten the income tax, eliminate the corporate income tax and the state sales tax and establish a value-added type Business Net Receipts Tax, Parsky’s response dripped with condescension:  “Tax policy is very complicated.”

What a wanker.

For all the lip service to bipartisanship and above-the-fray patina of the Parsky panel, its grubby political motives were laid bare by a question from our old friend George Skelton of the ByGodLATimes.

George asked why, when all the other taxes were considered, the panel had not addressed the most obvious one – the property tax – by at least recommending taxing business and industrial property at market rate?

Parsky danced around an answer until Edley finally admitted that the idea was politically a non-starter for conservatives. So much for high-minded, independence and fortitude.

Parsky Report DOA; More on the eMeg unVoter Mess

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

gun-to-headAs of late Monday the web site for the (all rise) Commission on the 21st Century Economy still said the panel would report its recommendations  “on or before September 20.” But having blown that deadline along with countless others, panel chair Gerald Parsky is scheduled to unveil the final product in Sacramento today.

Although Parsky repeatedly gave his word that the commission would only suggest that the Legislature and governor “consider” certain changes, it was reported late Monday that, “A draft copy of the report obtained by The Associated Press said the commission will recommend California change its personal income tax structure to reduce the burden on the wealthy.

“It also recommends replacing the state sales and corporate taxes with a new business levy that taxes net receipts, in an attempt to tax the value of all goods and services produced by businesses in the state,” AP reported.

The commission — having split along ideological lines a few months ago — hasn’t done much to keep the public in the loop and it was not clear late Monday how many commissioners have signed off on the report or, for that matter, whether it includes legislative language or who was invited to the roll out.

Ashley Snee, a PR consultant listed as the contact person on the press release about the event didn’t return Calbuzz calls or emails about how the report handled the deep rifts on the commission, but a Capitol source who has closely followed the meanderings of the panel told us, “they didn’t even tell the commissioners who aren’t signing the report about the event” in advance.

Small wonder. With Parsky and his conservative allies clinging to support for the extremely controversial Business Net Receipts Tax as their centerpiece for their agenda for rewriting the California Tax Code, liberal commissioners bailed out on the plan, particularly when their own tax reform ideas – like a split roll, a carbon tax and extending the sales tax to services as well as goods – received short shrift from the chairman.  In the real world, it wasn’t just the libs who bailed – there was zero support for the BNRT from business and industry, either.

As a political matter, Parsky’s failure to achieve anything near consensus on the task handed them by Gov.  Schwartzmuscle, Speaker Karen Bass and Senate President Darrell Steinberg last winter makes it likely that, in the end, their labors will have as much as effect as publishing poetry.

Here are a few questions offered up by Calbuzzer Jean Ross of the California Budget Project:

1) Has the Commission estimated the distribution impact of the package as a whole – specifically the new business net receipts tax – what assumptions were made in making these estimates and who did them?

2) The document presented by Commission staff at the 9/14 meeting in Berkeley assumes that half of the BNRT is “paid for” by “nonresidents and federal offsets” how was this estimate reached?

3) How do you respond to the argument by a number of tax policy experts that there are significant legal questions as to the state’s ability to impose the BNRT on firms outside of California?

4) If legislative language is included as part of the package, was that draft  made available to the public and did Commissioners ever discuss the draft in an open, noticed meeting? Was the draft language voted on by the Commission?

5) Did any commissioner initially refused to sign the report and then change his/her mind based on discussions outside of a public, noticed meeting? How many votes and whose changed?

megauctionWhat did she know and when did she know it:
Meg Whitman’s decision to stonewall inquiries about her shameful voting record, instead of going the modified, limited hang-out route, as Joe Mathews suggested here, means that her campaign will continue to be beset by questions fly-specking her past statements and claims on the issue.

Exhibit A: Back in February, eMeg told the Republican convention that she’d been registered to vote as a “decline to state” since 1998; last week the Sacramento Bee demolished that claim with their investigative report showing that he hadn’t registered as anything until 2002.

On Saturday, Whitman press flack Sarah Pompei was asked to reconcile her boss’s earlier comment with, well, the facts. “She misspoke, and it was wrong,” Pompei.

Well, that’s at least half right.

In fact, Whitman’s “misspoke” claim about being registered in 1998 was not some off-hand comment –- it was included in the formal speech she gave to the convention, as shown in a text of her prepared remarks that “The Ticket” posted on the L.A. Times at the time:

As you may have read, I’ve been a registered “decline to state” voter since 1998. As the CEO of a public company, with an enormous community of users and employees covering every imaginable political persuasion, I purposely made the decision to register DTS. I felt it was the right thing to do given my role at eBay. Once my eBay tenure was coming to an end and I became more involved with (Mitt Romney’s) campaign, I changed my registration back to Republican.

So far from being an accidental misstatement, the claim that she was registered in 1998 was written into the speech, embroidered, fabulized and, presumably, vetted and rehearsed. Bottom line: lying isn’t misspeaking.

The story that just keeps on giving: You’ve got your choice of You Tube presentations about the eMeg’s big mess and her one-for-the-ages press conference debacle on the subject at the state Republican convention.

We like this one mainly because of the frightful frown that Pete Wilson puts on near the end watching eMeg’s tortured performance and this one just because it’s reported straight-up by our old friend Dave Bryan, now with LA’s CBS2, who’s almost as old as us.

But you gotta hand it to Steve Poizner’s campaign team, for posting this You Tube ad shortly after the Bee’s publication of the story that started the whole controversy:

More on eMeg: One of Whitman’s verbal tics is to say, “Thank you for that” at the end of an answer to a hostile question, which she used at least three times during her Dan Quayle-like Saturday avail: For example:

REPORTER: …you were registered in 1998, and there’s no record of that. Are you inferring that you did? The Bee reported after you were not registered at all before 2002.
WHITMAN: So when I came back to California, I registered in 2002, so I don’t know where that came from, but I registered in 2002 when I came back to California, so thank you for that.”

REPORTER: We’re just trying to get some sort of sense of your frame of mind.
WHITMAN: I understand, and I’ve said what I’m going to say about it, so thank you for that, Jack.

The ploy is clear -– a cool-hand CEO’s way of demonstrating she’s always got the upper hand by acting all gracious and grateful that she’s been given the chance to answer a question she was just dying to address.

And yet, Calbuzz strongly suspects that “Thank you for that” is not what is actually inside eMeg’s thought balloons when she mouths those words. What, then, is this would-be governor thinking?

a) Who are these dreadful people, and why do I have to pay attention to them, again?
b) Nice blue blazer, loser – why don’t you get a haircut?
c) It’s no wonder newspapers are going out of business.
d) Fuck you.
e) Fuck you very much.

Lede of the week: If Gavin Newsom somehow fails to become governor in 2010, the opening of the Matier and Ross column in Monday’s Chron sums up the reason why:

“Mayor and new daddy Gavin Newsom will unveil a plan to provide every San Francisco kindergartener with a $50 “savings bond” for college – just as soon as he can figure out how to make sure illegal immigrants can qualify.”

They’re just sayin’.

Meanwhile, a new poll from Rasmussen shows Crusty the General Brown beating all the GOP contenders but Prince Gavin sucking wind behind them all.