ABC Hypes 'Bombshell' 'Rocking' Calif. Governor's Race, Whitman Risks Looking 'Heartless'
Good Morning America on Thursday devoted nine minutes and three segments to the "bombshell" accusations that are "rocking" the California governor's race.
After relating the allegations that Republican Meg Whitman knowingly hired an illegal housekeeper, reporter David Wright proclaimed, " The political risk for Whitman? That she comes off at heartless or hypocritical." [MP3 audio here.]
"Either way, not a good day for her campaign," he added. Wright even framed the issue as a "she said/she said" controversy. After noting that when Nikki Diaz, the housekeeper, "applied for the job, Diaz had provided proof of Social Security and legal residency," Wright added that "Diaz's lawyer insists that Whitman knew for years those documents were false."
Co-host Stephanopoulos interviewed both Whitman and liberal lawyer Gloria Allred, who is representing the woman. He began by hyping the allegations as a "potential bombshell in the California governor's race."
Stephanopoulos did grill Allred about her lack of proof and her connection to California's Democratic candidate for governor, Jerry Brown.
After Allred insisted that she possesses a letter proving that Whitman became aware of Diaz's illegality, Stephanopoulos pounced: "Meg Whitman says she didn't get that letter. Do you have it? Can you show it to us?"
Allred asserted that the document would be released on Thursday, prompting the host to follow-up: "Why not right now? Our whole audience across the country just saw Meg Whitman say it was untrue. Where's the letter?" (The Whitman campaign has released the documents Diaz provided asserting she was in America legally.)
Of course, the obvious question is this: If Stephanopoulos found the charges to be so flimsy and lacking of facts, why not wait a day and allow the proof to come out? (Whitman denied the accusation on Wednesday. Allred declared she would release the letter on Thursday.)
Just prior to the Allred interview, Stephanopoulos talked to Whitman. He grilled her over the departure of the housekeeper:
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, you say [Diaz] was a friend of the family. Her account of when she came to you in June of 2009, is pretty chilling. She says you basically cut her off. And said "From now on, you don't know me and I don't know you." Do you think there's anything you could have done to help her at that moment? Even if she couldn't continue to work for you?
Thanks to MRC intern Matt Hadro for the video.
A transcript of the first segment, which aired at 7:06am EDT on September 30, follows:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Also this morning, that potential bombshell in the California governor's race. Did Republican Meg Whitman, who has taken a very tough line on illegal immigration, know that her own housekeeper was in the country illegally? The housekeeper came forward yesterday to make the charge. Whitman denied it. Called it a political smear. The race could turn on who's telling the truth. We're going to hear from Meg Whitman, the billionaire who ran Ebay and attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing the candidate's former maid. That is exclusive this morning here on Good Morning America.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to turn to new charges rocking the California governor's race. Meg Whitman says the allegation that she knowingly employed an illegal immigrant to clean her house is a lie. But an attorney says she can prove Whitman is lying. In a moment, we'll hear from both Whitman and Gloria Allred. But first, here is David Wright.
MEG WHITMAN: You know, politics is a tough business.
DAVID WRIGHT: Meg Whitman has spent $120 million out of her own pocket, reaching out to California voters, with ads like this.
WHITMAN: We have got to hold employers accountable for only hiring documented workers.
GLORIA ALLRED: Is she willing to be held accountable? Is she willing to deal with this issue?
WHITMAN: Now, a former employee of Whitman's reveals, she's an illegal immigrant.
NIKKI DIAZ (former employee of Whitman): She treat me as if I was not a human being.
WRIGHT: Nikki Diaz worked as Whitman's housekeeper and nanny for nine years until Whitman abruptly fired her after she started running for governor.
DIAZ: She said, I cannot help you. And from now on, you don't know me and I don't know you.
WRIGHT: The Whitman campaign calls this a political smear, noting the candidate fired Diaz the minute she was informed Diaz was in the country illegally. When she applied for the job, Diaz had provided proof of Social Security and legal residency. But Diaz's lawyer insists that Whitman knew for years those documents were false. The political risk for Whitman? That she comes off at heartless or hypocritical. Either way, not a good day for her campaign. For Good Morning America, David Wright, ABC News, Los Angeles.