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Whitman, Brown respond to scandals at debate

October 12, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
In Northern California on Tuesday, gubernatorial hopefuls Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown squared off in the final televised debate.Sparing at Dominican University, the two candidates were confronted with some highly publicized scandals.

After being forced for days to defend a female aide's characterization of Whitman as a "whore" in an inadvertently recorded voicemail, Brown apologized to his opponent.

"It's unfortunate," Brown said. "I'm sorry it happened. I apologize."

But Whitman didn't really accept the apology.

"It's not just me," Whitman said. "It's the people of California who deserve better than slurs and personal attacks."

Brown points out that the conversation in the voicemail was about a police union endorsement for Whitman in exchange for exempting them in her pension reform plan.

"The fact that you got the endorsement of that union and I didn't because they know I'd be too tough on unions and public employee pensions," Brown said.

But Whitman didn't escape her own scandal with the moderator questioning her tough stand on immigration, yet employing then firing an undocumented housekeeper.

"It broke my heart, but I had to fire her," Whitman said. "I had to let her go."

"After working for nine years, she didn't even get her a lawyer," Brown said. "At least I could tell you that could be done."

The only major gaffe of the evening came from Brown, who wanted to show that he, too, had law enforcement endorsements.

"I've got the police chiefs in my back, backing me because they know I'm tough in crime," Brown said.

Laughing, Whitman said, "I think he said he's got the police chiefs in his back pocket."

"No, I have their backing," Brown fired back.

During the debate, an electronic posting appeared on the Secretary of State's website that Whitman gave her campaign another $20 million. This brings her personal contribution to nearly $142 million, a record for self-financing.


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