Commentary: Whitman's campaign is flying first class

The Sacramento BeeMarch 24, 2010 

A billionaire's wallet is something to behold when it opens wide.

Republican billionaire Meg Whitman has attained front-runner status in the race to replace Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger by spending nine times more than her nearest rival on broadcast ads in the first two and half months of this year.

The glossy production value of her campaign ads aside, her latest campaign finance report offers a peek at the woman who was a political unknown a short time ago, and perhaps provides some insight into how she might govern.

Whitman surrounds herself with aides from eBay, where she was chief executive officer, and from the campaign of former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the one-time Massachusetts governor who is her mentor in business and politics.

She also frets about security.

Whitman has paid $204,000 to John W. Endert, a former eBay security executive who has a permit to carry firearms and describes himself as experienced in corporate investigations, executive protection and threat mitigation. She categorized the $10,500 per month expenditure as a campaign worker salary.

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