Meg Whitman's Campaign Runs Off the Rails in Oakland

Candidate ducks press, then calls to apologize

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    TK
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    Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman invited reporters to a media event at the Union Pacific railyards in Oakland, then did her best to avoid them.

    Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman's campaign for governor of California jumped the tracks at the Union Pacific terminal in Oakland yesterday, when the campaign invited reporters to the event and then did its best not to let them anywhere near the candidate.

    Whitman was taken on a tour of the railyard, but the assembled media was placed in a "holding pen," with the campaign saying it was a decision by Union Pacific and Union Pacific saying it was a decision made by the campaign.

    Then, when Whitman did sit down to speak with reporters, she made her comments praising the industrious freight operation but refused to answer questions from the invited press, who were then forced from the room, with the help of security guards, by campaign spokesperson Sarah Pompei.

    Later, Whitman personally called television reporters to apologize.

    "We did not expect nearly as much press to show up who did, so it was a last minute sort of change of plans," , she told KTVU's Randy Shandobil. "It just didn't work out the way I had hoped it would work out."

    After giving an apology to Hank Plante of KPIX, anchor Dana King mused, "You'd like to think the candidate running for office is the one in charge."

    Zing!

    The incident didn't just receive local attention, however. The national press picked up on the story, with the Washington Post calling the video reports "b-r-u-t-a-l."

    All of which has left her Republican primary opponent Steve Poizner cackling with glee, or at least producing a highlight reel of Whitman ducking questions and interviews from television, radio and print reporters.

    The Whitman campaign did release a new attack ad against Poizner, so there's that.

    Jackson West wonders when Whitman's campaign staff will face mass layoffs.