October 2nd, 2010
08:56 PM ET
4 years ago

Whitman housekeeper controversy looms over debate

(CNN) - California Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman accused Democratic opponent Jerry Brown of orchestrating the scandal that erupted this week over her former housekeeper, Nicky Diaz-Santillan, in a debate Saturday night.

"Jerry, you know you should be ashamed, you and your surrogates," Whitman said. "You put it out here and you should be ashamed for sacrificing Nicky Diaz on the altar of your political ambitions."
In response, Brown said Whitman was avoiding responsibility for hiring an undocumented worker.

"You have blamed her, blamed me, blamed the left, blamed the unions. But you don't take accountability," Brown said.


The candidates sparred over the economy, jobs and immigration, a key issue in the border state.

Brown criticized Whitman's stance that employers should be held accountable for hiring illegal immigrants and brought the debate back to the recent controversy over her onetime housekeeper.

"Ms. Whitman obviously didn't crack down on herself," Brown said. "That is a question of talking out of both sides of her mouth."

Whitman responded that she did "hold myself accountable" once she discovered that Diaz-Santillan was in the United States illegally.

"If we do not hold employers accountable we will never get our arms around this very challenging problem," she said.

Whitman said she favors a guest worker program but does not support a path for citizenship for those already in the country illegally.

Saturday's debate was the second for the two nominees. It aired on Univision and the questions were asked in Spanish and then translated into English.

The event comes as both candidates court the Latino vote, which represents 21 percent of the electorate in California.

A Los Angeles Times/USC poll released Monday gave Brown a 19-point edge over Whitman among registered Latino voters. In the same poll, Brown held a 49 to 44 point lead over Whitman among all likely voters. The poll carried a sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.


Filed under: 2010 • California • Jerry Brown • Meg Whitman
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Money....does not talk

    For all the money that Whitman has wasted attacking Brown, she has screwed herself by continually doing the wrong thing. Instead of spending that 120 million running negative ads, she should have given 50 million to the schools of San Francisco and 50 million to the schools of L.A. She would have engendered so much good will and support. But I guess that makes way too much sense. Her hiring/firing of her "part of the family nanny" shows how contemptible she is. Like so many republicans she talks the talk but does not walk the walk. Like Palin, Bachmann, O'Donnell, Anger, Fiorina, this female republican candidate is just plain unqualified. Is this the republicans can do?

    October 2, 2010 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  2. reese

    I wonder how much Brown is paying Miss Nicky Diaz to admit to two felonies and expose herself to ICE? Nicky will most likely lose her family now by being deported, how can she possible not? Brown is a disgusting human being for doing this for political gain.

    October 2, 2010 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  3. frank thomas

    I worked all day on the Brown rally here in Fresno, the enthusiasim was contagious, we do have more registered democrats,here in fresno county, now if they will just all get out and vote. Jerry Brown knows the system and will be a great govenor, just what CCalifornia needs.

    October 2, 2010 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  4. TOTAL FACT

    California had Brown once before as Govenor. Do you not remember Californians. He is also a Democrat who has used illegals and abused illegals from day one. The only reason the Democrats are playing up to them now is for their vote. Immigrants from Mexico don't be foolish and fall for their line of crap. Do what you can to help us rid this country of tryanny. You have suffered in it long enough in Mexico. Help us to make the United States and Mexico come to easier terms for you to become citizens. What is happening now is a crime instigated by the Democrats. Jerry Brown is just short of being a gangster with no conscience.

    October 2, 2010 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  5. Darth Vadik, CA

    Keep talking Meg, just like the rest of the RepubliKKKans, the more you talk the more you dig.

    Maybe you, Carly, and that witch that likes meatballs from the East coast can get together and have "kupleraj"

    October 2, 2010 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  6. vic, Nashville TN

    Meg Whitman has to take responsibility and move on other tea party candidates doesn’t want to talk to media step side please
    I watched “right on the edge” as a conservative hard believe anything conservatives say now days shame

    October 2, 2010 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  7. Greg

    Ask yourself one question. Why would a billionaire like Whitman want to be Governor if CA? To make sure that the laws that made her rich as crap and drive more people into poverty stay in place. Think about it. She has billions and can rest on it. Is it the power or the money? It would be like Gates running for President. Why? You would mistrust him too. The rich already have the power. Why would you give them more? Why would anyone vote for a Whitman or even a Linda McMahon? They have no clue what we are dealing with. Not that the Dems are any better, but a Meg Whitman?

    October 2, 2010 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  8. Rene SF

    another scripted moment for Meg Whitman..if you can't take the heat you shouldn't be running for any position meg! do and say what you want, you or any republican will never get my vote!

    October 2, 2010 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  9. Four and The Door

    Jerry Brown knows absolutely nothing about economics, creating jobs or making California a place companies want to do business in. These are top priorities now. they have to be. Make advancements in these issues and everything else gets easier.

    Meg Whitman is exactly what we need. I don't know about the liberals North of us, but Meg will carry Southern California. People here are tired of high unemployment and seeing the state government run so poorly by liberals in Sacramento. We can do better.

    October 2, 2010 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  10. mary225

    Whitman hired the housekeeper before she knew she was going to run for office, so it doesn't count. And this is coming from a woman who could have afforded any help she desired, all because the USA has been so good to her and her bank account.

    October 2, 2010 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  11. Shannon

    She spent a 150,000 million of her own money to buy this election, but in the end it comes down to ethics, and it looks like she doesn't have any. She suffers from the same hypocricy problem all this new batch of Republicans seem to have. Stealing from campaigns, hiring illegal immigrants while telling others not to, lying about their education, threatening violence, what a group...lol

    October 2, 2010 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  12. Liberal4Obama

    Meg Whitman had a chance to tell the truth about her maid, both she lied.

    October 2, 2010 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  13. Klaxon McFlinderginder

    Quoting Hunter Thompson: ""How many more of these goddam elections are we going to have to write off as lame but 'regrettably necessary' holding actions? And how many more of these stinking double-downer sideshows will we have to go through before we can get ourselves straight enough to put together some kind of national election that will give me and the at least 20 million people I tend to agree with a chance to vote for something, instead of always being faced with that old familiar choice between the lesser of two evils?"

    October 2, 2010 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  14. Debbie from Arizona

    I really hope Brown wins California, but at least Ms. Whitman has the courage to debate Mr. Brown. Here in Arizona our appointed Governor Jan Brewer said she would not have anymore debates with Mr. Goddard, due to her embarrassing showing in her one and I guess only debate.

    October 2, 2010 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  15. ddr

    So didn't this week Whitman's husband say he "thought" he saw somthing from the government regarding this?? What a lie. People that's what the right side is about now. Lies and corruption. They drove the coumtry in the ditch and now are saying we can do better. Just give us the keys to the car. My response is let them walk!!!

    October 2, 2010 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  16. labman57

    Does Whitman have any EVIDENCE that Brown is behind her problems with an undocumented maid being fired just when she was planning to run for public office?

    Say, for example, a handwritten communique?

    October 2, 2010 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  17. Willy Brown

    Why would anybody vote for Moonbat Brown heck get Gray Davis same thing but younger.

    October 2, 2010 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  18. Julie C

    She lost this debate big time! I was happy to see her stick to her over-rehearsed talking points. Proved she does not have the ability to lead our state out of the mess it's in. She comes across as insincere and lacking credibility. Running a 15,000 employee company is a heck of a lot easier than a state will millions of people and very complex issues. We need experience. I'm voting for Brown. Arnold came from private sector and thought he could muscle his way through legislation and he failed miserably. I'll credit him for some environmental initiatives, but Meg would see to it that those get undone. Bye Meg!

    October 2, 2010 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  19. Allen

    What is Jerry Brown complaining about? He doesn't want ANYONE documented! He and the rest of the liberals think anyone can just come here and live for free, get free education, free medical care, drivers licenses, etc...on the backs of the fewer and fewer workers California attracts and retains due to our ridiculous regulations and labor unions driving jobs out of state and overseas. Hiring illegal aliens, criminals and all, is exactly what Jerry Brown wants. Is he upset because Whitman did exactly what he's never done himself? California doesn't need a retred.

    October 2, 2010 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  20. STEVEN

    The GOP' candidates follow the same line with nothing new to offer but blame, blame and blame the government. They always find an issue which riles especially the less informed ignorant portion of the population and ride such issues to victory. Once they get in power, because they really dont have any ideas but to kill government, what happens is disaster as you see the eight years of BUSH. Show me one REPUBLICAN government that has ever left a surplus for an in coming president?? Not Reagan, not H W BUSH and definitely not G.W. Prty soon their rhetoric will catch up with them. No wonder they want to abolish the DEPT. OF EDUCATION, because once they do this, they know they can keep the majority of ignorant Americans in the dark for ever about their real intention. Wise up people..Never vote for the GOP.

    October 2, 2010 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  21. steven harnack

    How could Brown possibly be behind this? Does she think that he planted the housekeeper with her 9 years ago just waiting for this moment?

    October 2, 2010 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  22. George of the jungle

    Brown was a good lutenent governor and no one has complained about that. Whitman like so many wealth people hire years and she didn't know ? Apperantly she doesnt pay any attention to her employees. people dont'care who they hireIf they save money thats why they are rich. Vote democratic in November

    October 2, 2010 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  23. ron

    Typical hypocrite Republican,send illegals home except the ones that work for me.

    October 2, 2010 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  24. farkdude

    no real agenda brown, taking the low road

    October 2, 2010 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  25. lforlegend

    Talking out of both sides of her mouth, two-faced, just like a dad-gum pepug.

    October 2, 2010 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
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