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California Nurses Respond to Whitman Attack Campaign: Friday, 11:00 a.m

Press Release Press Release, 6/24/10

Contact Information | Media Center

For Immediate Release
June 24, 2010

Nurses to Whitman: “You Can’t Push Us Around, Silence Us or Have Our Private Information”

Registered nurses representing the California Nurses Association will come from across the state this Friday, June 25 to host a press conference to express their outrage over the attack campaign being run against them by Meg Whitman, and their resolve to overcome it.  The nurses will extend an invitation to Whitman to attend and hear from nurses at a major forum scheduled for July 15th on the issues of nurse rights, worker rights, and healthcare. 

Queen Meg—the satire character who crystallized the primary election—will also appear at the press conference and attempt to bully the nurses into supporting her.

“For whatever reason, billionaire Whitman has made the decision to attack nurses.  She’s calling us at our homes with push polls, putting out false information to the media, posting deceitful Web sites, and we expect mail to arrive from her soon.  THIS is why we didn’t want to give Whitman our personal information, but we feel like she went ahead and violated our privacy anyway,” noted Geri Jenkins, RN, co-President of the California Nurses Association. 

WHAT: Nurses Decry Meg Whitman Attack Campaign
WHEN: Friday, June 25 – 11:00 a.m.
WHERE: California Nurses Association, 2000 Franklin St., Oakland

The responses come on the heels of an unprecedented effort this week by Whitman to silence CNA and the voices of nurses in the governor’s race.  Whitman first demanded a list of the home addresses of all California nurses, which was refused.  In response, Whitman launched an attack website aimed at undermining the ability of nurses to speak up in public, and at silencing their efforts to discuss her ties to Goldman Sachs and her record of flip-flopping on patient safety regulations like safe nurse-to-patient ratios. 

Much of the content on the attack website comes from a push-poll of the state’s registered nurses, performed by a New Jersey firm tied to the GOP, which made the calls under false pretenses.  The deceitful nature of this push-poll was mirrored by the campaign’s choice to use stock photos of actors on its website, with no actual nurses appearing on a site ironically titled “Truth for nurses.”

Despite CNA’s repeated invitations this week, Whitman has refused to make herself available to the nurses she is criticizing, or to enter into dialogue with them.  “We’re inviting her to come meet some actual nurses—and listen to us.  She’s only willing to speak at us, not with us,” said Deborah Burger, RN, co-President of CNA.  “For example, we’re very interested to ask why the flip-flopping on patient safety regulations. In the primary she wasn’t for them, now she might be.  Which Meg Whitman will show up when?”

As part of her attack campaign, Whitman has expressed surprise at the lack of support she maintains among Registered Nurses.  “We have spent a great deal of time educating our nurses about Whitman’s time as a board member of Goldman Sachs.  She clearly does not understand how worrisome that is for everyday, middle-class people like our members,” said Zenei Cortez, RN, co-President of CNA. 

Whitman’s attack campaign is reacting to the CNA-sponsored statewide tour of Queen Meg whose campaign message is, “we can’t afford our democracy so why not try a monarchy.”  Queen Meg toured the state in the days leading up to the primary election, talking to voters and nurses from San Diego to Sacramento.  Queen Meg—and her Spanish-speaking cousin La Reina Meg—also helped cement the image of Whitman in the Latino community, by re-running on Spanish-language radio an ad where Pete Wilson endorsed Meg Whitman and praised her harsh and punitive policies towards immigrants.  Learn more at www.QueenMeg2010.com

CNA noted that the first victim in Whitman’s attack campaign is her credibility.  Her campaign denied to media including the Los Angeles Times that she was engaging in push-polling, only to publish the results of those polls the next day.

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