Whitman throws her hat into political ring

February 17, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman sounded more like an official candidate for governor on Tuesday as she laid out her vision for California at Silicon Valley's Tech Museum, but she may have alienated some Bay Area voters.

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No one is surprised former eBay CEO Meg Whitman says California needs to run the state more like a business. The Republican Gubernatorial candidate says the economy is priority number one and plans to help create two million jobs by 2015.

"So how will we create those jobs? We'll do it by streamlining regulation, by restructuring and cutting taxes, by spending less and by spending smarter," said Whitman.

Whitman's vision of lower taxes and less regulation plays well among many Silicon Valley business leaders.

"She's been there in the middle of it of it. She's seen how it works and doesn't work and there's a very, very few candidates with her pedigree from that perspective," said Scott McNealy, chairman of Sun Microsystems.

In addition to the economy, Whitman says her focus will be on improving California's failing education system and protecting the environment as an advocate of clean technology. It was after her speech though when audience questions revealed a more personal side of the candidates' political views.

"How did you vote on Prop 8 and are you pro-life?" asked an audience member.

The billionaire businesswoman says she's pro-choice and voted for California's ban on same-sex marriage.

"I voted my faith and my conscious, but what I will tell you is that I am all for equal rights and civil rights," said Whitman.

Whitman also responded to a question about immigration. She calls for more secure borders and holding employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers.

"As you know, San Francisco and LA are sanctuary cities which I think is absolutely wrong. It's in direct violation to federal immigration law," said Whitman.

We're learning more about Whitman's political positions as she campaigns early against at least two Republican contenders: State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and former Congressman Tom Campbell. Whitman takes her message south on Wednesday for a similar speech in Orange County.

You can read more on Karina Rusk's back story: More on Meg Whitman's political move

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