Republican Meg Whitman has apparently decided that the best way to win the California governor’s race is to imitate Sarah Palin. Whitman has repeatedly refused to talk to reporters and has instead made herself available to conservative columnists, mirroring Palin’s 2008 vice presidential run when she refused to hold a single press conference and preferred fawning interviews on Fox News. And Whitman did it again yesterday at the Port of Oakland, inviting reporters to come along on a tour, but then deciding at the last moment to keep them in an isolated room and refuse to answer their questions, the Trib and Chron report.
Whitman also was caught in a lie. She told reporters that the host of the tour, Union Pacific Railroad, had decided to not allow journalists, but then a Union Pacific spokesman said that company officials had fully expected reporters to come along and that it was the Whitman campaign's decision to ban them. Whitman, however, made time on the tour for a friendly sit-down interview with Chronicle right-wing columnist Debra Saunders.
Whitman’s decision to piss off the state’s political press corps and channel Palin likely won’t hurt her in the June Republican primary against Steve Poizner. But it could be a different story in the November general election against Jerry Brown.