(CNN) – Meg Whitman had some 'splainin' to do.
The California gubernatorial candidate who is locked in a tight a tight race with Democrat Jerry Brown took heat from some proud Fresno residents earlier this week when she inartfully described the central California city as "look[ing] like Detroit – it's awful."
The comments, published Wednesday in the San Jose Mercury News, beset Whitman on the campaign trail and the California Republican took to the Fresno airwaves Thursday to clean up the small mess she had created.
"Fresno is a great town," she told KMJ AM 580 Thursday. "I love the Central Valley." The California Republican, who has steadily learned the finer points of politicking after a career spent in business, also said she merely meant to convey that the recession had hit Fresno hard.
"What I was trying to communicate was Fresno, the Central Valley, has been very hard hit. As hard hit as places like Detroit. So that's what I was trying to communicate," said Whitman, who is neck and neck in the polls with Brown.
The city of Fresno has a population of 500,000 and an unemployment rate close to 15 percent, according to the Fresno Bee – more than 2 points higher than the statewide rate.