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Meg Whitman to host Chris Christie fundraiser

Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman will host a fundraising reception for a Republican presidential candidate next month – but not for her HP predecessor and 2010 ticket-mate, Carly Fiorina.

Meg WhitmanWhitman and her husband, Griff Harsh, will host a $2,700-per-person fundraiser for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on the evening of Thursday, Nov. 19 at their Atherton home. Whitman signed on to Christie’s campaign in June as a national finance co-chair.

This event’s host committee includes real estate developer Steve Eggert and his wife, Pam, of Sacramento; businessman and Wall Street heir Nick Loeb of Florida; Bullpen Capital managing director Paul Martino of Mountain View; Palo Alto Networks chairman, president and CEO Mark McLaughlin and his wife, Karen, of Saratoga; real estate investor Carole McNeil of San Francisco; and GOP strategist Jeff Randle and his wife, Kellie, of Sacramento.

Christie currently is ranked ninth in the GOP field, with 2.4 percent support, according to an average of five recent national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics. Fiorina is in sixth place, at 5.4 percent.

Whitman and Fiorina made their first runs for public office at the same time in 2010 – Whitman, who had been eBay’s CEO from 1998 to 2008, ran for governor of California while Fiorina, HP’s CEO from 1999 to CEO, challenged U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. Both lost – Whitman by 13 percentage points, Fiorina by 10 – with Fiorina garnering more raw votes than Whitman.

Fiorina has raised $317,879 and Christie has raised $37,200 from the greater Bay Area this year, according to Federal Election Commission data crunched by the Center for Responsive Politics.

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Kashkari and Whitman sign same-sex marriage brief

Former California gubernatorial candidates Neel Kashkari and Meg Whitman are among more than 300 Republicans and conservatives who signed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold civil marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Project Right Side and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman formally filed the amicus brief Thursday evening involving four cases to be heard on April 28 concerning government recognition of the freedom to marry.

The signers “want to convey to the court that they support traditional conservative values, including the belief in the importance of stable families, as well as the commitment to limited government and the protection of individual freedom,” a news release said. “Furthermore they believe that those conservative values are consistent with affording civil marriage rights to same-sex couples. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held marriage to be a fundamental right.”

Mehlman said the brief “adds an important and different voice in the struggle for marriage equality both before the Court and also to millions of Americans at a ‘teaching moment.’ It is another reflection of the growing national support for freedom and liberty for gay and lesbian Americans – support that clearly crosses partisan and ideological lines.”

In 2013, Mehlman submitted a brief to the Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v. Perry – the case that resulted in California’s Proposition 8 ban on same sex marriage being overturned – with 131 Republican signers.

Other signers of this new brief include former California House members Mary Bono and Michael Huffington; the consultants who have run California’s past three Republican gubernatorial campaigns – Steve Schmidt, Mike Murphy, and Aaron McLear; Josh Ginsberg, former political director for Arnold Schwarzenegger; Tucker Bounds, former communications director for Whitman; and Andrea Saul, former communications director for 2010 U.S. Senate nominee Carly Fiorina.

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The return of “Queen Meg” Whitman?

Meg Whitman on Forbes cover 6-10-2013The new issue of Forbes magazine features Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman on the cover, but the headline harkens back to a less successful moment in her career.

“Meg Goes to War,” the headline proclaims. “Can the queen of Silicon Valley save its original startup?”

Whitman’s people should put a permanent kibosh on using the word “queen” anywhere near her name. It’s a cringe-worthy reminder of the “Queen Meg” guerrilla campaign tactic that the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United used against her during her 2010 gubernatorial run – a costumed performer impersonating Whitman as someone who thought herself above, and couldn’t be bothered by, the needs of the hoi polloi.

The Forbes story portrays Whitman as a CEO who wants to learn from her company’s mistakes in order to build a leaner, more competitive outfit. “She’s decisive without being abrasive, persuasive without being slick. She’s a team builder who knows that turnarounds call for repairing hundreds of small failings rather than betting everything on a miracle cure that might be a mirage.”

If that’s how she had run her $178.5 million campaign – with $144 million of that coming from her own pocket – we might be calling her Gov. Whitman right now.

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Chris Christie calls Jerry Brown ‘an old retread’

Media including the Los Angeles Times are reporting on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s tirade against California Gov. Jerry Brown this morning as he addressed California’s delegation to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.:

“California made the bad choice by going with an old retread,” Christie told California’s delegation to the Republican National Convention here, a crowd that lapped up his message. “Let me tell you this – I cannot believe you people elected Jerry Brown over Meg Whitman. … Jerry Brown. Jerry Brown? I mean, he won the New Jersey presidential primary over Jimmy Carter when I was 14 years old.”

Christie said the 74-year-old, three-term governor told him that he’s not trying to raise taxes, that he is allowing voters to decide by putting a tax proposal on the ballot.

“Man, that’s leadership, isn’t it?” Christie said.

Seems like my story in today’s editions about California being a popular GOP punching bag was timely, no?

A few observations: Christie governs a state that doesn’t require two-thirds majorities of both houses of the Legislature in order to raise taxes. California’s GDP grew by 2 percent last year, while New Jersey’s shrank by -0.5 percent. And Meg Whitman now presides over Hewlett-Packard, which last week reported its largest-ever quarterly loss – $8.9 billion – and is stumbling dangerously, according to the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Businessweek.

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Romney rolls out California leadership team

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, completing a campaigning and fundraising swing through California today, announced his leadership team for the Golden State.

Former governors Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian will serve as honorary statewide chairman, while the statewide chairs will be 2010 GOP gubernatorial nominee and current HP CEO Meg Whitman; House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield; Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista; Rep. Mary Bono-Mack, R-Palm Springs; Rep Buck McKeon, R-Santa Clarita; congressional candidate and state Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark; and 2010 GOP U.S. Senate nominee Carly Fiorina of Los Altos Hills. McCarthy’s and Fiorina’s endorsements were announced yesterday.

“It is an honor to have so much support from such distinguished leaders in California,” Romney said in a news release. “This is further proof that my pro-growth message is resonating with voters and that Californians want a conservative businessman to replace President Obama. I look forward to their counsel in my efforts to bring back jobs and restore fiscal sanity in Washington.”

Wilson said this election “is too important for our party to nominate a candidate without the real-world economic experience and proven track record that Mitt Romney has demonstrated throughout this campaign and throughout his life.”

“The members of his California Leadership Team have already been hard at work spreading his pro-growth message and working to ensure that President Obama is defeated in November,” Wilson added. “I am proud to be a part of this team and encourage my fellow Republicans to unite behind the one candidate we know can beat President Obama and create an economic climate that will bring jobs back to California.”

Romney did a campaign event yesterday morning in San Diego before holding fundraising events there and in Redwood City. Today, he’s doing fundraisers in Stockton, Irvine and Los Angeles, and will appear on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

Five California polls conducted in the past seven weeks have shown Romney establishing a strong lead over his competitors Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.

For additional Romney leadership team members, read on after the jump…
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Trying to get a grip on Meg Whitman’s bankroll

$144.2 million. That’s what 2010 Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman spent out of her own pocket on her failed campaign; the campaign’s total spending was $178.5 million when all was said and done, according to campaign finance reports filed yesterday.

Chew on it for a second. $144.2 million. Gaaaaah! Cannot… contextualize. Maybe it’s because I live on a reporter’s salary – which was never great, and actually has gotten smaller in recent years – but I’m fascinated by the concept of being able to lay out that kind of money for anything. I’m dwelling on it. It’s probably not healthy.

I did a quick turn around the Interwebs to see what $144.2 million means in other contexts. That amount is also:

  • the entire government spending of the Federated States of Micronesia for 2005.
  • the adjusted sale price of Gustav Klimt’s “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I” (sold in 2006 for $135 million to billionaire businessman Ronald Lauder)
  • Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I - Meg could've bought this.

  • the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 2009 lobbying costs, the highest yearly lobbying expense ever reported
  • the amount appropriated by Congress in the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 to buy airport screening equipment for checked and carry-on baggage
  • the gross box-office take of Eddie Murphy’s “Dr. Doolittle
  • No, I’m still not feeling it. Maybe I’m just not cut out to be able to imagine $144.2 million in, and then out of, my pocket. Maybe it’s easier to visualize $34.93, which is what Whitman paid out of pocket for each vote she eventually got in November’s general election. $34.93 could buy you a pair of boots, or a computer daypack, or a knife-compass-and-spark-striker survival tool combo, or a yoga mat, or a pair of horse bookends.

    Aaaahhhh, that’s it – sweet, sweet context. A pair of horse bookends each for 4,127,391 voters.

    That’s about the same number of people as the combined populations of New Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii, by the way.