As Meg Whitman has been introducing herself to California voters, she retells a line that usually generates a chuckle: "The next governor of California needs to know exactly what SHE believes."
The statement conveys the kind of confidence the former eBay executive displayed in her trailblazing role as the female head of a Fortune 500 company. It also is a reminder of the pioneering role she would play if she is elected as the first woman to California's highest office.
Mrs. Whitman rarely dwells on her gender as she seeks to woo the female voters who now make up a majority of California's electorate. But when she does make that pitch, her language at times comes across as tone-deaf. A recent poll shows she is having mixed results in winning over women.
Some of the statements on Mrs. Whitman's Web site and at campaign events sound as if they come from a previous era, when women could only dream of leading a major company.
For example, in talking about the devastating effects of California's high unemployment rate and faltering economy, Mrs. Whitman says it has provoked tough conversations in families. Among them, she regularly says, are "husbands telling wives that they can't afford their homes any longer."... (more)...