In a heated third and final debate between California gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown, Meg Whitman refused to accept Jerry Brown’s clear apology for the use of a derogatory term to describe Ms. Whitman by someone who may be on Jerry Brown’s campaign staff.
Rather than accepting Jerry Brown’s apology and moving on (as Meg Whitman would like voters to do when she is asked to explain why she hired an illegal immigrant or to justify her poor voting record), Meg Whitman criticized Jerry Brown repeatedly as if he were a child or an inept employee.
In this debate at Dominican University of California, located in San Rafael, Jerry Brown received most of the applause and clearly emerged as the winner.
Many of the issues debated by Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman were repetitive of the previous two debates at UC Davis Mondavi Center and California State University, Fresno. In tonight’s debate, Republican Meg Whitman blamed Democrat Jerry Brown for the economic downturn and failures of California’s government. Jerry Brown reminded her that California has had three Republican governors (George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson, and Arnold Schwarzenegger) since he left office in 1983.
Meg Whitman was evasive when answering Tom Brokaw’s questions and repeatedly referred to her detailed plan to bring jobs to California. Jerry Brown reminded her that no plan can be implemented unless the legislature is on board.
Meg Whitman called for public pension reform but was unclear about whether the police union would be exempt from such reforms. Jerry Brown was quick to point out that Meg Whitman has the backing of the police union and implied that a deal had been struck.
Although Meg Whitman tried to portray Jerry Brown as soft on crime, he quickly defended his record by stating that he has the endorsements of Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and the California Police Chiefs Association. Furthermore, he discussed his record as an Attorney General who has cracked down on crime.
Meg Whitman criticized Jerry Brown for refusing to defend Proposition 8 as California’s Attorney General. Jerry Brown stated that he refused to defend a law that a federal judge called discriminatory because it violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Tom Brokaw asked Meg Whitman about her call for employer accountability regarding the hiring of illegal immigrants. Specifically, he wondered how Ms. Whitman could expect employers to be held accountable when she hired an illegal immigrant in her own home. Jerry Brown called for comprehensive immigration reform and wondered why Meg Whitman couldn’t offer her former housekeeper, who worked in the Whitman home for 9 years, a lawyer instead of treating her like a semi-serf.
A key difference between the candidates is their approach to AB32, which is California’s landmark climate change law. Meg Whitman calls for a moratorium on AB32, because she feels that it jeopardizes jobs in California. Jerry Brown stated that there is no credible study that shows AB32 will hurt employment in the way that Meg Whitman claims. In fact, Jerry Brown is a strong proponent of green jobs and believes that clean energy jobs are key to California’s economic growth. Furthermore, Jerry Brown stated that Proposition 23, which is on the ballot this November to suspend AB32, is backed by Texas oil giants.
The bottom line is that billionaire Meg Whitman would have you believe that as former CEO and President of eBay, she is qualified to create jobs in California. She gave nothing substantial in tonight’s debate to show how her private sector experience would translate into success in the public sector.
The debate tonight was broadcast in Los Angeles by NBC4.
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