Schwarzenegger downplays Whitman's 'rhetoric'

September 25, 2009 6:33:36 PM PDT
The only woman running for California governor says she intends to suspend California's historic climate change law. The so-called Global Warming Solutions Act was backed and signed by Schwarzenegger. Meg Whitman chose a solar manufacturing plant in Foster City to make her stand Friday.

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On Thursday, the governor made a remarkable statement about Meg Whitman saying he did not think she was sincere in her desire to suspend California's green house gas restrictions. On Friday, Whitman told ABC7 that yes, she is.

In her speech at a solar panel company in Foster City, Whitman said the state has placed too many environmental regulations on businesses.

"...Laws that have actually left us at an economic disadvantage to neighboring states and AB32 is a prime example," she said.

AB32 is the state's law limiting green house gas emissions that Governor Schwarenegger signed three years ago. On Thursday, he said Whitman does not mean what she is saying.

"I'm sure she doesn't want to be counted as one of those republicans that wants to move us back to the stone ages," he said.

"So, obviously that's not the point here. What I want to do is put Californians back to work," Whitman said laughingly. She did not bite back, saying it is just a difference of opinion. "And, if it's easier and cheaper, and more welcoming to do business in a neighboring state, it's economics."

She also thinks California voters will respond to a message that the political system is broken and needs an outsider to fix it.

"People are tired of the lies. They're angry at the lack of values and commitments," Whitman said.

She hopes to tap into what she sees as voter anger.

"I think they are angry. They are angry because they are. We have sent these people to Sacramento to fix the problems and the problems aren't fixed," she said.

That may sound familiar.

In 2003, Governor Schwarzenegger said, "I don't want to move boxes around. I want to blow them up."

ABC7 political analyst Bruce Cain, PhD, says Whitman is following in Schwarzenegger's footsteps, an outsider mad at the status quo.

"I think the strategy is very explicitly to capitalize on some of the anger we've seen through the summer on the national scene," he says.

The question is, will it work in California where an incumbent governor used the same technique to get elected and then could not, to use Whitman's words, fix the problems.

"And, she's put all her money on they want to break the boxes up again despite the fact that voters were asked to do that in 2003," says Cain.

Meg Whitman is running against fellow republicans Steve Poizner and Tom Campbell. Both are political insiders. Poizner is the state's insurance commissioner. Campbell is a former legislator and state finance director. Campbell said Friday that he would not suspend the greenhouse gas laws, but he would lower business taxes and reward businesses that cut their carbon footprint.

Poizner's campaign said they weould realign the state's standards to match national standards, which sounds a lot like he agrees with Whitman and would suspsend AB32.

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