04/18/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

eBay's Meg Whitman: Can She Save California?

(Fortune Magazine) -- It's been barely a month since Meg Whitman declared that she was running for governor of California, and the skewers are already out. The state's press has cast her as a political novice. Late-night comics are loving this notion of eBay's former CEO in charge of America's largest state. "Well, that makes sense," said Jay Leno. "I mean, the state's broke. If we're going to start selling stuff, who better to be governor than the head of eBay?"

Many businesspeople, as well as most of her friends, think she's crazy to want to be governor at a time of crisis. Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) CEO Carol Bartz says that when Whitman recently came to her office seeking support, "I asked her, 'Why in the world would you want to do this?' I probably asked her that question 10 different ways."

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