Poizner turns up heat in debate with Whitman

LOS ANGELES The Republican candidates for governor held their final debate before the June primary election. State Insurance Commissioner /*Steve Poizner*/ is trailing former EBay CEO /*Meg Whitman*/.

Poizner is pulling out all the stops. He's attacking Whitman for her position on immigration and her former connection to Goldman Sachs.

Whitman visited a Diamond Bar home Monday owned by an 86-year-old woman. Whitman promised not to change Proposition 13. The owner says she couldn't keep her home without Prop. 13.

Whitman was once a board member of Goldman Sachs, one of the firms now blamed for the financial meltdown. She got stock issues because of her connection and was able realize nearly $2 million profit.

At Monday night's debate her primary opponent, Poizner, pointed out the actions are now illegal and it was a conflict of interest then, with Goldman Sachs trying to get EBay investments.

Whitman said in an interview Monday it was legal and a standard practice at the time.

"When it was criticized later after the dot-com bubble burst, I said, 'You know what, what's the right thing to do? Let's give half the money back to EBay, half to charity, we'll get rid of the lawsuit and we will go forward here,'" said Whitman.

"The shareholders of EBay sued Meg Whitman for massive conflicts of interest, then she gave all this money back after the lawsuit occurred in order to settle the lawsuit," said Poizner.

In a previous Eyewitness News poll conducted by Survey USA, Poizner trailed Whitman by 22 points. And by the millions of dollars spent by Whitman on the campaign.

Illegal immigration has been a major issue in the Republican campaign for governor. Poizner says that by favoring a path to citizenship, Whitman favors amnesty.

"Steve is just wrong on this," said Whitman. "I am 100 percent against amnesty. No exceptions. It's not the right thing for California, it's not the right thing for the country."

"I'm going to start with all of the non-emergency healthcare benefits that flow to illegals, that's wrong. People that are here illegally can attend California colleges and universities and pay in-state tuition rates," said Poizner.

Poizner once opposed Arizona's tough new law on illegal immigration. He now supports it. He says the legislature and the governor changed the law enough to protect people against racial profiling by police. Whitman says she still opposes the law.

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