Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this

October 14, 2010 (San Diego) – Attorney General/former Governor Jerry Brown and ex-E-Bay chairman Meg Whitman squared off in the third of three debates Tuesday night. The candidates engaged in heated criticisms, differing sharply on issues. Brown drew applause on several responses; Whitman did not, evoking jeers after one answer during the event held at Dominican College and moderated by NBC’s Tom Brokaw.

View the full debate here:



Despite California’s $20 billion budget shortfall, Whitman said she wants to eliminate the capital gains tax. “It's a tax on jobs, it's a tax on job creators, and it's a tax on investments," she insisted.

Brown slammed Whitman’s proposal to eliminate capital gains, which he said would help millionaires while resulting in more cuts in education. “Ms. Whitman, I’d ask you, how much money will you save if these tax breaks were in effect?” Brown asked.

Whitman claimed that Brown raised taxes and lost jobs during his past term as Governor. Brown accused Whitman of making “demonstrably false” statements about his record, then cited two newspaper articles in the Oakland Tribune and Whitman’s hometown paper, the San Jose Mercury, which rebutted the statements she just made. “Taxes went down when I was Governor, $4 billion,” said Brown, who added that his administration created 4.9 million jobs.

Both candidates said they oppose Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana, and both promised they would be tough on crime. Whitman accused Brown of being "soft on crime", noting that former Chief Justice Rose Byrd, a Brown appointee, was recalled by voters for her opposition to the death penalty cases. Brown noted that he is endorsed by major law enforcement associations and has defended the death penalty as Attorney General.


Whitman, who admitted she hired an illegal immigrant as a maid for nine years, declared, “We have to hold employers accountable for hiring illegal workers,” then called for a temporary worker program for all sorts of employees, including domestic workers. (Whitman has said she didn’t know the maid was illegal and fired her when she found out.)

Brown agreed that businesses should be held responsible but noted, “The biggest problem here is we have millions of people here illegally in the country and California,” adding that Whitman offers no hope even to children raised here and living in the shadows. “These are real people, mothers and dads and kids, and they have this fear-- just the fear that her housekeeper had,” he said of his opponent.


“I think it’s kind of a sorry tale there,” he said. “After working for her for 9 years, she didn’t even get her a lawyer,” he said of Whitman and her maid, drawing applause from the audience. Brown added that Whitman’s guest worker plan sounds like Braceros program “treating people from Mexico like semi- serfs--you work them and send them back. I don’t think that’s human. I don’t think that’s right.”

The candidates also sparred over who would be toughest on unions and public employee pensions, with both pledging to make the cuts.

Brown apologized for a campaign worker referring to Whitman as a “whore” for her efforts to get a union endorsement. The remark was made in a private cell phone conversation that Brown suggested was recorded illegally without consent of all parties talking. Whitman called the term “deeply offensive.”

Brown countered, “Have you chastised your chairman, Pete Wilson, who called Congress whores to public sector unions?”

“You know better Jerry, that’s a completely different thing,” replied Whitman, drawing mocking laughter from the crowd.

In closing remarks, Whitman said “If we don’t cut taxes and streamline regulations, there is no way to get out of this mess.”

Brown said legislators who want to pass a bill need to state how they plan to fund it. He concluded dthat he’s got the experience and the fortitude to “do what is right for California.”

Prior to the final debate, three major polls all showed Brown leading, though by relatively modest margins:
Poll Date Sample Brown (D) Whitman (R) Spread
RCP Average 9/30 - 10/4 -- 48.7 43.3 Brown +5.4
10/2 - 10/4 448 LV 50 43 Brown +7
Rasmussen Reports
10/3 - 10/3 750 LV 49 44 Brown +5
9/30 - 10/3 670 LV 47 43 Brown +4

Those results differ from earlier polls, which had mixed results:

Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.