On politics in the Golden State
October 16, 2010 | 9:19 pm

Meg Whitman’s statewide bus tour was in Northern California on Saturday, concluding a three-city swing at the Black Bear Diner in Redding, where she bought a stuffed teddy bear and ordered “Bob’s Big Bear Burger” with cheese and fries, to go.

Whitman’s stop came as Sarah Palin stumped for Republicans in Anaheim, an appearance Whitman pointedly skipped as she tries to appeal to centrist, undecided voters. She sidestepped questions about Palin and kept the focus on her Democratic opponent, Jerry Brown.

After working the late-lunch crowd from behind the counter and sitting with customers in their booths, Whitman used a brief news conference to attack Brown for his support for legislation that would ensure public university access for undocumented students.

“News flash to Jerry Brown: We do not have unlimited resources,” Whitman told reporters. “We are in a budget crisis. We are going to have to make some very tough tradeoffs and [university] slots are being cut for citizens. And the fact that he wants to put undocumented … immigrants ahead of the taxpayers of California, I just think is wrong.”

She added: “Either he doesn’t recognize that we are in a budget crisis or he’s pandering for votes. I bet he’s pandering for votes.”

Earlier in the day, Whitman received warm welcomes from voters at the Cozy Diner in Chico, where a supporter presented her with a carved pumpkin that read, “MEG 2010.” She told one group of customers, “I’m not a politician. I just want to say it like it is.”

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