On politics in the Golden State

April 30, 2010 | 12:18 pm

First there were the Nixon tapes. Now, thanks to Meg Whitman’s campaign, we have the Poizner tapes.

Or will have them, come Monday. In a breathless announcement this morning, Whitman, the ex-EBay chief running for the Republican nomination for governor, challenged Poizner to release debate clips from his failed 2004 Assembly run that show him taking moderate positions (or liberal – it’s a matter of perspective). If he doesn’t, her campaign says it will release the “tapes” here (note the countdown) Monday morning.

The “debate challenge,” as Whitman’s news release described it – ironically, because she has turned down Democratic candidate Jerry Brown’s actual debate challenge – comes two days before she and Poizner are set to spar face to face in debate sponsored by Cablevision in San Jose. Her campaign is trying to contrast statements he’ll likely make on Sunday with his former ones, and give Whitman an opportunity to throw them back at him.

Overall, it’s the latest volley in what’s amounted to an “I’m rubber you’re glue” primary. Poizner, running as the true conservative in the race, is also portraying Whitman as a closet liberal. In fact, both have shifted to the right, based on their words and actions over the last few years, as each attempts to convince Republican primary voters that they are conservative kin. (Latest “I’m rubber you’re glue” example: When we told Whitman’s campaign that it had errors in its transcription of Poizner quotes, this was the response: “There were typos in his campaign pamphlet.”)

Here’s the reaction from Poizner spokesman Jarrod Agen:

Steve Poizner knocked on 10,000 doors campaigning and registering Republicans in his 2004 race against one of the most liberal members of the Assembly. If Meg Whitman wants to talk about 2004, we demand Meg Whitman release all of her correspondence with Barbara Boxer when she endorsed her that year. Meg Whitman should also release the information about how much money she made from Goldman Sachs in 2004. Finally, if Meg Whitman wants to criticize Steve for his comments from 2004, why did Meg vote for him?

And here are some “sneak peek” Poizner quotes from 2004 released by Whitman on Friday morning:

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