Surprise! Meg Whitman Listens to NPR

Poizner gets the only laugh line of the night

By Jackson West
|  Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010  |  Updated 2:15 PM PDT
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California Primary Race: Campaign Snapshots

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Meg Whitman, Steve Poizner

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Turns out the rival GOP candidates for governor have more in common than they thought.

In an hour-long debate between the Republican gubernatorial primary hopefuls in Orange County last night, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner were both called "traitors."

Traitors to the GOP, that is, in a question from a Riverside resident who asked why Whitman and Poizner had supported Barbara Boxer and Al Gore, respectively.

They only have themselves to blame: The accusation played to the attacks each candidate has made trying to paint their opponent as a crypto-liberal.

But their responses to that and other questions covered pretty much the same ground as their stump speeches, leaving Calbuzz to call it a "snoozefest."

The two interesting moments were right at the start of the debate when Whitman started to address the audience without a microphone. But after that, she was mostly solid.

Poizner got points for the wittiest quips of the night. After Whitman mentioned something she had heard on NPR, Poizner responded, "Another difference between Meg and me: I don't listen to NPR."

He also got the only laugh of the night in his closing remarks, when he thanked Whitman for her appearance, and added, "I hope we get to do more of these."

 
His campaign has accused Whitman of dodging a debate at the party's state convention last weekend.

The Poizner campaign and the Democratic Governor's Association California Accountability Project together sent out more than a dozen "fact check" emails during the debate pointing to errors in Whitman's statements.

 
Both Poizner and Whitman claimed victory in statements after the fact.

Jackson West, who took print shop in high school, agreed with the candidates on offering vocational education, at least.

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