Top 10 mistakes of Election 2010

We all make mistakes. But in the world of politics, it’s an art form. Here’s our list of favorites from Election 2010, in no particular order, and focused on mistakes that could affect the outcome of a race.

Meg Whitman’s handling of illegal-immigrant housekeeper flap

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    Meg Whitman's former housekeeper, Nicky Diaz Santillan (l.), looks at her attorney, Gloria Allred, during a Sept. 30 news conference.
    Nick Ut/AP/file
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In September, California GOP gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman was revealed to have employed an undocumented worker in her household for nine years, though she says she was unaware of the maid’s immigration status at the time. When Ms. Whitman learned the truth in June 2009, she fired the maid.

Latino voters have reacted in particular to maid Nicky Diaz’s statement that Whitman had refused to help her, and threw her away “like a piece of garbage.” Since then, Latino voters have flocked to Democratic nominee Jerry Brown, who now has a comfortable lead.

Could Whitman have overcome this flap with more deft handling? Hard to say, but her hard-line position on immigration made it difficult for her to change her tune.

So far, Whitman has spent $163 million of her own money on the race, an all-time record for any US candidate. Given her lack of political experience, that may have been a mistake, too.

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