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Archive for the ‘Barbara Boxer’ Category



Meyer on Meg’s Money; Bonus: Her Personality

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Whether Meg Whitman tastes personal triumph or bitter defeat on Tuesday, her do-it-my-way campaign for governor will end with a bunch of winners: the scores of media, polling, online, policy and strategic consultants who backed up the truck and hauled off many, many millions of dollars of her money.

In a year when the Supreme Court threw off all restrictions on corporate and labor campaign spending, Karl Rove pioneered new methods for funneling secret funds into races across the country and more than half of the members of the U.S. Senate were millionaires, eMeg secured her own special place in political history by tossing at least $140 million of her own fortune into the pot – making her bid for governor a more expensive proposition than Al Gore’s effort to become president in 2000. As of this week, her burn rate was up to $1.4 million a day.

As sartorially splendiferous editorial cartoonist Tom Meyer bids farewell to the nouveaux riches Legions of eMeg today, it’s worth poring through the dusty volumes of ancient Calbuzz writings to excavate a piece from the earliest days of the site, when we examined the checkered history of self-funding candidates for top offices in California:

Pity the poor billionaire seeking high office in California : Not once in modern political history has a self-financed candidate captured a top-of-ticket party nomination and gone on to be elected governor or U.S. senator in the state.

This historic trend again marks California as a great exception, in contrast to states like New Jersey and Texas , where multimillionaires routinely prevail.

Good luck and Godspeed on Tuesday, Meg. Sorry we never got to have that dinner.


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eMeg — The Person: Despite considerable sideline agitation by the esteemed Dr. P.J. Hackenflack, our staff psychiatrist, Calbuzz has refrained by and large from trying to explain Meg Whitman’s personality, or to examine her skills at mothering, or to look too deeply into her intellectual, emotional or spiritual motivations. Frankly, we don’t really know the woman. Our attempts to get up close and personal have been rebuffed, so we have — for the most part — not gone all psychological on eMeg (as we have on Jerry Brown, aka Krusty the General, aka Gandalf).

But while writers at Gawker have not been so restrained, neither are the folks over at the Bay Citizen, which posted a story on Friday titled, “At eBay, Whitman Was Known for Fierce Temper.” The story had the following subhead: “Former employees say her angry outbursts and imperious management style raise questions about how she’d govern.”

“She was very angry, irrational when under stress, very difficult to be around,” said a former eBay technology executive who was present at a meeting to discuss a June 1999 crisis in which the eBay computer system crashed and could not be reliably restored. This executive said that Whitman threw a phone or pager at a marketing representative from Veritas Software who had brought the unwelcome news that a Veritas engineer could not attend the meeting. One other employee present corroborated this employee’s account, and a third employee present corroborated that Whitman was irate and used profanity but was unable to see whether or not she threw something at the marketing representative.

About 20 people, including eBay staff and personnel from Oracle, Veritas and Sun Microsystems, were present. Whitman “just went ballistic,” the technology executive said. “She was in a rage, swearing. Really hard-core swearing. I don’t know how many times she said ‘fuck.’ Over and over and over. She laid into this poor woman. She just went on, wouldn’t let go. Everybody was in shock and astonished at what Meg was doing. You just don’t see this kind of thing in business meetings.”

So, maybe Nicky Diaz — the housekeeper she fired abruptly after nine years, after finding our she was an illegal immigrant — got off easy.

She actually said the words: After eMeg got some rough treatment at a stop at a Cuban bakery in Glendale Friday, she was asked about the recent spate of polls showing her significantly behind Jerry Brown. Whereupon she responded with the hoariest cliche in politics, always a clear signal that it’s wayyyy past time for the campaign to be over:

“Polls schmolls,” Whitman said. “The only poll that really matters is the poll on Election Day.

This just in: Joe (Ballgame) Garofoli reports that Barbara Boxer is — oddly — saying the magic words as well.
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Field Poll numbers: Latest survey has Gavin Newsom leading Abel Maldonado in the Lieutenant Governor’s race 42-37% and Steve Cooley and Kamala Harris at 39-38% in the race for Attorney General. Jump ball.
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Meg’s Latest Jerry vs Jerry ad: Nice clip from 1995 of CNN’s Frank Sesno asking Brown “What did you lie about as governor?” Says Jerry: “It’s all a lie!” And Team Whitman wants you to remember that’s what he said. Jerry’s Kids will probably say, “Hey, that’s back when he was a radio host, trying to be provocative. Old news.” If they bother to respond at all.

Babs’ Big Lead in Field Poll; Meg to Nicky: ‘Go Home’

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Despite much huffing and puffing from the beltway media and an $8 million injection into Carly Fiorina’s campaign by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Barbara Boxer has expanded her lead in the U.S, Senate race to 49-41%, according to the latest Field Poll.

Boxer owes her lead to her standing among independent voters, women and Latinos, and also to the fact that non-partisan voters have a very low opinion of Fiorina – 30% favorable versus 51% unfavorable – compared to their view of Boxer, 50-36% favorable.

With her background of having exported 30,000 jobs when she was CEO of Hewlett Packard, and with her stands against choice, for offshore oil drilling and against California’s climate change law, Fiorina has positioned herself squarely to the right of the California mainstream.

The only broad demographic groups where she is ahead more than the survey’s 3.2% margin of error are with Republicans (79-10%) and with voters in Southern California outside of Los Angeles (53-39%) and in the Central Valley (50-38%).

While Boxer’s favorable-to-unfavorable rating is just 48-47%, she is drawing more than eight in 10 Democrats, about half the independents and men and a majority of women. She has nearly two-thirds of the Latinos, plus six in 10 voters in Los Angeles and more than six in 10 voters in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Among those who have already voted by mail – 21% of the survey sample – Boxer leads 48-42%. And because the Field Poll’s sample contained 44% Democrats and 39% Republians – a five-point differential, compared to 13 points in official registration – the so-called “enthusiasm gap” is accounted for.

Moreover, Field’s likely voter sample contains just 51% women, while many pollsters, including last week’s Los Angeles Times/USC Survey, anticipate that women will comprise 53% of the total electorate. If that is accurate, then the Field Poll could actually be understating the vote for Boxer. In addition, Field’s likely voter sample contains 16% Latinos – a proportion that is three percentage points below registration.

The Field Poll interviewed a random sample of 1,501 registered voters, listed in the Secretary of State’s voter file by landline or cell phone, depending on their listing in the official file. From them, Field culled 1,092 likely voters who said they had already voted or who said they were “absolutely certain” to vote and whose voting history – if they were not newly registered – suggested they were likely to vote. Likely voters in Field’s survey constitute 73% of the registered voters who completed interviews.

Interviewing was conducted in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese in two waves: Oct 14-19 and Oct 20-26. The margin of error for the overall likely voter sample is +/- 3.2%.

Calbuzz obtained the Field Poll from sources because we have been denied our offer to become paid subscribers.

Are you kidding me? What to make ot Meg Whitman’s statement to Greta Van Susteren of Fox News:  “It breaks my heart, but she should be deported because she forged documents and she lied about her immigration status . . . The law’s the law and we live in a rule of law, it’s important.”

We hate sounding cynical, but the Armies of eMeg have given us good reason to suspect the worst, as in: Could it be that Whitman’s people have concluded they have completely lost the Latino vote (since polls show Whitman drawing well below 30%)?

And so they opted to pander to the right-wing of the Republican Party, which is eager to see Nicky Diaz deported and which was disappointed, not that eMeg sent Nicky packing, but that she didn’t turn her into immigration authorities.

By far the most offensive aspect of Whitman’s performance in the matter, however, is her disgraceful public posture of shedding crocodile tears while blithely throwing Diaz under the bus, all the while whining and wallowing in self-pity about how this is breaking HER heart. Simply shameful.

LAT/USC Poll: The Center is Holding for Brown, Boxer

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Months ago, Jerry Brown’s campaign manager, Steve Glazer, told us he thought the race for governor between his guy and Meg Whitman would either be very, very close or a blow-out for Brown. With Whitman spending more than $160 million thus far and her spinmeisters claiming that their private polling was showing the race neck-and-neck, most analysts have been reluctant to acknowledge that public surveys have consistently shown Brown breaking away.

That’s hard to do today with the big Los Angeles Times/USC survey finding Democrat Brown — with overwhelming support from independents, moderates, Latinos and women — leading Republican Whitman 52-39% among likely voters, compared to 49-44% last month. And that’s with a survey model that gives the GOP a huge enthusiasm advantage, pegging likely voters at 44% Democrat and 40% Republican – far closer than the 13% difference between them in official registration.

Among key constituencies who tilt the balance in statewide races in California, Brown leads 61-24% among independents, 59-30% among moderates and 61-27% among Latinos – not to mention his 55-34% advantage among women, who comprised 53% of the LAT/USC likely voter universe.[Results and crosstabs here.]

The survey also shows Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer with a smaller but still hefty 8-point lead over Republican Carly Fiorina – 50-42% — with Fiorina doing better among conservative-leaning constituencies than Whitman, especially in the Central Valley. Like Brown, Boxer has consolidated the vote among classic Democratic blocs and she has huge leads in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Despite heavy breathing from the national press corps, the race is essentially unchanged in the LAT/USC survey, from 51-43% last month.

The poll suggests – as did another from the Public Policy Institute of California last week – that Whitman has been unable to develop support beyond the conservative, Republican base vote in Southern California and rural areas of the state. Despite all the money she has spent on television commercials, key blocs of voters – including women, Latinos and middle-of-the-road Californians — just don’t like her.

While Brown’s overall favorability is nothing to write home about – 48% favorable versus 44% unfavorable, at least Krusty is on the plus side. eMeg is below water at 37% favorable and 52% unfavorable. About seven in 10 Republicans and conservatives give her favorable marks, but  among independents, only 18% have a favorable view of her compared to 69% with an unfavorable view; Latinos have a 2-to-1 unfavorable view of her at 26-52% and women are fed up with her too – 33% favorable compared to 55% unfavorable.

Exactly what women find objectionable about Whitman is hard to pin down from the LAT/USC data. But here’s one clue: When asked how well Whitman handled her “nanny situation,” 38% of women said “well” and 54% said not “well.” (BTW, 26% of Latinos said “well” compared to 68% who said not “well.”)

Brown was also judged better than Whitman in terms of understanding people, speaking plainly, knowing how to get the job done and, by-2-to-1, telling the truth. The 54-year-old Whitman had only slightly better marks than the 72-year-old Brown on having the energy to get the job done and being decisive.

In the Senate race, Boxer and Fiorina each are pulling about eight in 10 votes from of their own party vote, but Boxer has a big 58-26% lead among independents and a 59-31% lead among moderates. Fiorina is leading Boxer in Southern California outside of LA 51-39% and in the Central Valley 53-40% which is why she’s running closer to Boxer than Whitman is to Brown.

Boxer’s favorability is pretty weak – 44% favorable and 50% unfavorable. But it’s better than Fiorina’s – 36% favorable and 43% unfavorable. Importantly for Boxer, independents like her a lot more than they do Fiorina: 50-42% favorable for Boxer compared to 16-60% unfavorable for Fiorina. And while women aren’t exactly wild about Boxer – 47-46% on the favorable side – they don’t care for Fiorina at all: they rate her 32% favorable and 45% unfavorable.

The Democratic firm Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner and the Republican firm American Viewpoint conducted the poll for the Los Angeles Times and the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, calling landlines and cellphones Oct. 13-20.  A random sample of 1,501 California registered voters were called, including an oversample of Latino respondents for a total of 460 Latino interviews. The survey identified 922 likely voters for whom the margin of error is +/- 3.2%. The margin of error for Latinos is +/- 4.6%.

To be included in the likely voter sample, respondents must have voted in 2006 and 2008, said they were “almost certain” or “probably” going to vote in 2010 and rated their enthusiasm about voting as 5 or higher on a 10-point scale. Those who registered since the 2008 election were included if they met the enthusiasm standard and said they are “almost certain” to vote this time around. Likely voters also included those said they have already have voted by mail — about 7% of voters surveyed.

PPIC Poll: Why Jerry and Babs Lead Meg and Carly

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Propelled by his standing among Democrats, Latinos, women, liberals and especially moderates, Jerry Brown is leading Meg Whitman 44-36% in the latest survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, which also finds Barbara Boxer leading Carly Fiorina 43-38%.

Despite her massive spending – which is expected to reach $180 million – Republican Whitman has been unable to break away from Democrat Brown except among Republicans, conservatives and Southern Californians outside of Los Angeles.

Among independents – a group Team Whitman has identified as crucial to their final game plan – the race is essentially tied, with Whitman up only 37-36%, according to PPIC. Men, whites and voters in the Central Valley – demographics essential to a Republican candidate – also are evenly divided, while Brown is crushing Whitman in Los Angeles (54-28%) and the San Francisco Bay Area (55-29%).

Brown’s strong lead appears in some considerable part to be due to his appeal to middle-of-the-road voters – moderates – as distinct from independents, according to a crosstab PPIC created at the request of Calbuzz. Brown, of course, leads among liberals 82-4% and Whitman commands conservatives 63-15%. But among the large swath of voters in the middle – however they are registered to vote – Brown leads 51-29%.

The findings are based on a turnout model – derived from questions probing respondents’ likliness to vote — that includes 44% Democrats, 35% Republicans and 19% independents. The 9-point differential between Democrats and Republicans is 4 points lower than the official difference by party registration. That takes into account the “enthusiasm gap” many pollsters find during the election season.

But if Republicans turn out in vastly higher numbers and Democrats don’t, the race could certainly be closer than PPIC suggests. On the other hand, the survey only includes 49% women, which is likely 2-4 percent too low — which would advantage Brown and Boxer.

While Brown leads Whitman on voters’ beliefs about who would do a better job on education, environment and immigration, Whitman leads on two of the most compelling issues – jobs and the economy, and state budget and taxes. But PPIC did not ask questions about character or qualifications – two concerns the Brown campaign believe precede voters’ views about issues.

The data make it clear why, in the closing days of the campaign, Whitman continues to hammer on Brown’s record on  jobs, taxes, the death penalty and pensions, while Brown is emphasizing Whitman’s truthfulness, experience, self-interest and integrity.

While just half the Democrats say they are satisfied with their choices of candidates in the governor’s race and 46% say they’re not satisfied, only 38% of Republicans are satisfied compared to 58% who are not satisfied.

Satisfaction doesn’t seem to be preventing either Brown or Whitman from consolidating their party base: Brown has 76% of the Democrats and Whitman has 73% of the Republicans. But given that Whitman has spent so lavishly – explaining that she must do this because Brown is so well-known and the unions are funding him to the hilt – it is astonishing that nearly six in 10 Republicans are not happy with their choice.

The relatively large number of undecided voters — 16% — is at least partly a function of PPIC’s polling technique: they do not ask undecided voters for whom they are leaning, a question that many pollsters use to better simulate a final vote.

In the race for  U.S. Senate, Boxer commands Democrats, Women, Latinos, liberals and – importantly – moderates. She also kills Republican Fiorina in Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

But Fiorina is closer to Boxer than Whitman is to Brown because she is not only ahead among Republicans, conservatives and voters in Southern California outside of LA, she also leads Boxer among men, whites and voters in the Central Valley. Only independents are a wash.

According to the special Calbuzz crosstab, Boxer has the liberals 81-4% and Fiorina has the conservatives 69-13%. But moderates are tilting 51-24% for Boxer – which explains why Boxer is emphasizing Fiorina’s very conservative views on abortion, offshore oil drilling, environment and other issues that cast her GOP opponent outside of the California mainstream.

Voters are more satisfied with their choices for Senate than they are their choices for governor: Democrats are satisfied 67-27%, Republicans are OK with their choice 61-34% and independents say they’re satisfied by 51-41%.

None of the propositions PPIC tested appear in great shape: Prop. 19, to legalize marijuana, is trailing 44-49%; Prop. 23, to overturn the state’s greenhouse gas controls, is losing 37-48%; Prop. 24, to repeal a law giving business a tax break, is behind 31-38%, with 31% undecided; and Prop. 25, to lower the threshold to pass a budget to a majority, is leading just 49-34%.

PPIC surveyed 1,802 adults by landline and 200 by cell phone, Oct. 10-17. Included in the sample were 1,067 respondents identified as likely voters, for whom the margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points. (The cell phone interviews, however, included were with adults who have both cell phone and landline service, not just those who have a cell phone only – a demographically distinct, and more Democrat-leaning, group. PPIC informs us that at most 103 respondents in their total sample have a cell phone only. We don’t know how many CPOs were in their likely voter sample.)

PS: We note with some disgust that the Wall Street Journal broke PPIC’s embargo on this survey. We’re not sure where they got the numbers but they may have figured them out from the Brown campaign’s 1:30 pm conference call when the survey was discussed. Calbuzz, however, has played by the rules.

Clinton Rallies Dems; Krusty Bashes eMeg on Taxes

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Jerry Brown took some of his toughest shots of the campaign at Republican Meg Whitman at a rollicking rally Sunday night in San Jose, where former president Bill Clinton warmly embraced his one-time Democratic rival, lavishly praising him as a leader who “has always been on the side of positive change.”

The old-fashioned political rally drew about 3,000 people to the Event Center at San Jose State University, the second large, raucous event Clinton headlined in the state, as he energetically turned his popularity in California to motivating Democrats, especially younger ones, to cast ballots in an election year where most of the enthusiasm is on the Republican side.

Brown’s theme – apparently his closing meme – was “know-how, values and vision” – each of which he used to contrast himself to Whitman, the former CEO of eBay who has no prior direct political experience.

Clinton, on stage with Brown and Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Gavin Newsom, urged the audience to use all their social networking tools to contact their friends and if they’re not planning to vote, to ask them “What planet do you live on?”

Said the former president: “Your future’s on the line – but you’ve got to show up.”

Just two weeks before the Nov. 2 election, state Democratic leaders hope Clinton’s visit to the state can ignite the party’s base. It is a measure of the Democrat’s perilous political position in 2010 that the former president is spending time in California, normally a reliable blue state, during a midterm election where boosting turnout will be crucial to the party in holding down GOP gains in Washington and across the country.

The Whitman campaign sought to dismiss Clinton’s participation as a minor annoyance. “If it weren’t for his party affiliation, Bill Clinton wouldn’t have anything to do with Jerry Brown,” said  Whitman spokeshuman Andrea Jones Rivera.

Recent polls have shown Brown narrowly leading Whitman, while incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer remains locked in a tight race with GOP challenger Carly Fiorina in the other top statewide race.

Brown and Clinton have a long history of political conflict, but there was no evidence of it on Sunday, as the two warmly hugged and exchanged compliments.

Brown introduced Clinton as a great guy and a great president who persevered “in the face of the most outrageous Republican opposition,” and credited him with leaving the nation with a surplus and with creating 22 million jobs during his two terms.

“Now I know this president’s amazing,” he said “He took a lot of crap from a lot of people, okay? Yeah, I gave him a little myself “

Striking a populist tone, Brown also praised Clinton for giving “the people at the bottom” a chance at the American Dream. “It’s how society takes care of the least powerful,” that truly matters, he said, paraphrasing Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

It was a theme that he elaborated upon in his own comments, as he assailed Whitman as a tool of the rich, and he doubled down on his recent attacks on the GOP nominee for her proposal to eliminate the capital gains tax in the state.

“Here’s the Whitman economic plan,” Brown said. “The most important part of her plan is to take the 1% of the people in California who pay 80% of the capital gains tax and give them a complete pass . . . So here’s the plan, take the money from you and give it to her and her friends and her contributors . . . She wants to give them a complete pass.”

Warming to his theme and tapping his inner William Jennings Bryan, Brown mocked Whitman’s statement that she doesn’t know how much her proposal would save her personally.

“Let me give Ms Whitman a little bit of advice. Go look at your tax return. There’s a little line on her tax return – which she won’t release by the way, to the public – and on that line it says how much your taxable gain is. So you know what it is…she knows the number!

“I know my number by the way. I paid $1400 in capital gains tax this year. Doesn’t she know? I don’t know. Maybe somebody stole her tax return, like they stole her mail or something,” Brown said to laughter, referring to Whitman’s allegation that her housekeeper stole her mail containing information about her mismatched Social Security number.

One of Brown’s biggest applause lines came when he referenced Whitman’s argument that most of the state’s fiscal problems can be traced to the power and greed of public employees unions, and her promise to lay off 40,000 state workers if she is elected.

“I’m not ashamed that people join unions and bargain collectively, because you know what? If you’re a janitor or you’re a farm worker or you’re a housekeeper, God help you if you don’t have somebody looking out for you that’s more powerful than you are. And that’s what it’s all about,” he said.

He also bashed Whitman as someone who wants to enter political life at the top of the ladder and is in it for her own personal ambitions.

“This is somebody who never voted, never got involved in her local school board, never did anything . . . and she wants to start at the top.” He compared her to a job applicant who goes to an interview and says, “Here’s my resume – it’s blank.”

Referring to Whitman’s injection of $140 million of her own funds into the race, he said: “We’ve found out a billion is not enough if that’s all you got.”

PS — Here’s our favorite Clinton riff (which we think we have verbatim):

I was raised in a home where nobody I knew had a college degree. I had people one generation older than me, who I knew had higher IQs than I did, who never had the opportunities I did. We were raised to believe if you were fortunate, you were supposed to give back to your community, give to the future of your community and that was the right thing. All I think about these days both here and when I work in Haiti and Africa and Latin America and East Asia and all these places … I just think about the fact that intelligence and ability and dreams are evenly distributed across this state, across this nation and across this world but the resources, they’re not evenly distributed. And whenever you let them get out of whack, you pay a terrible price. So what I think about all the time is, I want all of you to have the chance I did. That’s why Jerry Brown sounded so angry when he was talking.

We were raised in a totally different tradition. We were raised in the first generation of Americans that took a middle class lifestyle for granted. All we had to do was show up, be good students, obey the law, do what we were supposed to do and we had a chance to live our dreams. I have watched for 30 years the assault on the American Dream and I am sick and tired of it and I want you to stop that from being your future. (cue WILD APPLAUSE AND CHEERING)

Thanks to DWT for photos, limo service and transcription.