Dems knock Whitman’s support of Va. counterpart

Democrats apparently hope to kill two Republican gubnernatorial birds with one gender-roles stone by calling attention to California candidate Meg Whitman’s trip to the East Coast later this week to stump with Virginia candidate Bob McDonnell.

Americans United for Change, a liberal, labor-backed organization generally supportive of the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party, issued a news release today noting Whitman’s trip, entitled “What Is Meg Whitman Thinking?”

McDonnell for weeks has been trying to parry criticisms based on his 1989 evangelical-school Master’s degree thesis, in which he described working women and feminists as “detrimental” to the family; said government policy should favor married couples over “cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators;” and described as “illogical” a 1972 Supreme Court decision legalizing the use of contraception by unmarried couples.

Whitman is now taking heat for explaining her lack of a voting record by saying she had been “focused on raising a family, on my husband’s career, and we moved many, many times.” Democrats seem to hope this explanation will prove as potentially unpopular with voting and working women as McDonnell’s thesis.

“If Bob McDonnell’s extreme views had won the day – Meg Whitman would have never been the CEO of a major company, would not have had access to child care and would never have been in the position she is in today to run for public office,” Americans United for Change deputy executive director Caren Benjamin wrote in today’s e-mail, which went first to her group’s allied organizations and then to the media. “What is Meg Whitman thinking campaigning with a man whose views would bar women from the work place and who as an elected official has fought against issues of important to women like equal pay for equal work? Why would Meg Whitman campaign for a far right wing ideologue and misogynist like Bob McDonnell? Is she not ready for prime time? Or does she just no [sic] know the facts?”

“Meg Whitman is being brought to Virginia by Bob McDonnell for one reason – it’s his desperate attempt to recover from the revelations of his thesis and his real extreme views on women that have resulted in near disaster for his campaign,” Benjamin continued, asking people to call Whitman’s campaign and urge her to cancel the appearance with McDonnell.

Save your nickel: Whitman’s not going after all.

“Our campaign has a scheduling conflict,” Whitman campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds told me a short while ago.

But before Americans United for Change starts doing a victory dance, it should check with CNN, which now reports the visit’s plug was pulled last week:

McDonnell’s campaign said the fundraiser, to be held at a private home in northern Virginia, was canceled last week because “scheduling reasons prevented it from happening.” John Backus, a businessman who was scheduled to host the gathering and has known Whitman for years, said the fundraiser had to be postponed because his wife is giving birth. He said Whitman wouldn’t be attending the re-scheduled event.

UPDATE @ 4:22 P.M.: Americans United for Change delcares victory, anyway. Just in from Caren Benjamin:

“The plan was for Meg Whitman to breeze into Virginia to quietly raise a lot of money for someone who believes working women are “detrimental” to families. It’s interesting that the fundraiser was canceled after being spotlighted publicly and that Whitman won’t be attending the re-scheduled event. Maybe Whitman realized how untenable it would have been to help someone who believes someone like her had no business in the business world.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

One Comment

  1. if there is one thing worse than laisse Faire, it’s female laisse Faire and that’s what you got from whitman.

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