October 13th, 2010
10:43 AM ET
4 years ago

California gubernatorial debate hits on 'whore' comment

(CNN) - A debate between California's gubernatorial candidates Tuesday night became heated after discussion turned to the use of the word "whore" by a staffer for the Democratic nominee.

In an inadvertently recorded conversation, a staffer for California Attorney General Jerry Brown called former eBay CEO Meg Whitman a "whore," implying that she had sold out to special interests.

Brown said Tuesday that he doesn't believe the word is as offensive as the "N-word," which drew an audible, exasperated response from Whitman.

After Brown reiterated his apology to Whitman, she echoed her previous response by saying "the people of California deserve better than slurs and personal attacks."

Brown asked Whitman if she'd reprimanded her campaign chairman, Pete Wilson, for calling Congress "such whores to public employees unions" in 1995.

"You know better than that, that's a completely different thing," Whitman responded. The audience seemed to disagree.

Brown said that he couldn't conduct an investigation into who exactly used the word, because "this is a five week old private conversation picked up on a cell phone with a garbled transmission, very hard to detect who it is."

A CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Sept. 29 indicates Brown holds a 52 to 43 point lead over Whitman among likely California voters.


Filed under: 2010 • California • Jerry Brown • Meg Whitman
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. stormerF

    Brown is suppose to be the attorney General,why is he allowing the sanctiary cities that are costing us Billions in Tax Dollars for illegal social services and education? To go un-challenged?

    October 13, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  2. Annie, Atlanta

    Why is it a big news deal when a Democratic operative calls a Republican woman a name, but the filthy things that have been said about Hillary Clinton from her time as first lady on just goes by the wayside. Are Republican women more special? (oops, my bad on the first one)

    October 13, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  3. vic nashville tn

    Meg Whitman doesn’t want to move on
    2000 GOP primary we heard similar comment candidates moved on
    2008 democratic primary we heard similar comment candidates moved on

    But Meg Whitman want to capitalize the comment Shame

    October 13, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. Mark Jeffery Koch

    Happy to see that the voters of California, as depicted in the latest poll, are letting the rest of America know that their votes are not for sale. When Meg Whitman spent $150 million of her own fortune on her campaign she made it next to impossible that anyone could compete against her. If we allow mega millionaires to purchase elected offices we might as well post the sale of offices for Senator, Governor, Congressmen, and Mayor in the classified section of our local newspapers.

    October 13, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. katiec

    How could Whitman not be beholden to big business? Her career allowed her to be able to afford the multi millions she has poured into her campaign.
    Voters, we cannot allow the rich, special interests, questionable organizations buy our elections.
    Get out and vote for the survival of our country and us.

    October 13, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. T'SAH from Virginia

    PLEASE – the WHORE thing is DEAD!!!!!! And if this continues to be an issue – it will hurt NOT the deliverer but the RECEIVER!! And I love the way CNN left out the first part of this next statement: "Brown said Tuesday that he doesn't believe the word is as offensive as the "N-word," which drew an audible, exasperated response from Whitman."

    Brown said that ONLY after Whitman or the commentator stated that using the 'whore' word was just as bad as using the N-Word!!!! Don't make this look like Brown just brought this up out of THIN AIR and made that remark – this suggest RACISM somehow – YOU THINK?????

    CA – Please keep UNITING the BASE so when November 2, 2010 comes along – we will knock this out of the park!!!

    This is T'SAH from Virginia and I approve this message!!!

    October 13, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. Four and The Door

    Pete Wilson was not working for Meg Whitman in 1995 so it might be inappropriate for her to scold him on that comment.

    But anyway, Meg made Jerry Brown look awful sorry in the debate. He has no ideas to ring to the table for 2010 California. His jobs plan is just regurgitated Democratic rhetoric which has already proven does not work.

    Meg Whitman made a strong case for working on a more efficient CA state government, reducing the cost of operating the state and making it more attractive for businesses without sacrificing education or services. She is clearly the one with a plan and the one who is capable of implementing it. Jerry Brown would be too encumbered paying back bug unions for financing his campaign. But he still does not have a new plan to start with.

    October 13, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. informed voter

    So glad Brown was able to point out to Whitman that the exact same word was used by someone in her corner. I think this is such a nonissue. I am hopeful all the corporate whores running for office across out great nation are not successful in their bid to buy the legislative branch of our government.

    October 13, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  9. socalgal

    Moonbeam's past got us into this mess. How could anyone think that he would now get us out of it?

    October 13, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. PalmReader

    So, Meg, what would YOU call a candidate who has (to date) spent $150M to get elected? Meg Whitman no more cares for we the little people than any other GOPer running for office, let alone sitting in office, today. Power and greed, yes. Solutions, not so much. If, as the GOPers like to maintain, Tax cuts and job growth go hand in hand, why then have American jobs all but disappeared, as the rich got richer, and the poor, poorer? Any one who thinks that giving out more tax cuts to businesses is going to bring our jobs back from China and India, are very, very mistaken. Ask Meg.

    October 13, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  11. The Other Dale

    Okay, I give up. Is there at least one Republican candidate that isn't having to eat their own words on a daily basis these days: Whitman here when confronted with evidence pointing out her campaign doing the same thing. Paladino having backtracked on his comments from the weekend now. Paul needing his handlers to state "what he really meant to say was" on a daily basis in Kentucky (and two debates where the moderators had to correct him on wellknown facts). O'Donnell realizing that things she said before may come back to haunt her. Rich Lott and his fun-time Nazi games. How are any of these people supposed to be better than who is there now? How are they better than the people they are running against that have actually done good jobs in the past and show signs of been good for the country now? Amazing.

    October 13, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  12. NYC REPUB

    Whitman is a goner.

    October 13, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  13. stufthis

    After spending $120 million of her own money, she finally has an issue, the word 'whore.' It helps people forget how she refused to hire a legal house keeper. It seems the only hope for republicans to get cheap gardeners, stable boys and house keepers is to repeal the minimum wage.

    October 13, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  14. California resident

    Jerry Brown for governor? Are you kidding me? I have been a resident of Southern California for 43 years, and I remember vividly when Brown was gov, and it was a nightmare! Look at what his policies have led California to, WE ARE BROKE BECAUSE OF DEMOCRATIC LIBERAL POLICIES!!!!!!! We have lost over 200,000 businesses because of Liberals like Brown. We have the highest taxes in the nation, and the highest poverty rate, and the highest violent crime rate, and the highest illegal alien population, and the highest Union memberships. These things don't just happen for no reason, they happen because of laws passed when Brown was last governor and we are now seeing what those policies look like when they have been fully implemented. I am a democrat turned independent, and if anyone besides union workers and illegal aliens vote for Brown you need to have your head examined.

    October 13, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  15. Orlando

    I watched the debate!! it was a good one!! She sooo contradicted herself and Brown put her inn her place! The audience cheered at brown.

    October 13, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  16. StephenG

    This was a private remark uttered in a political campaign strategy session by a woman that in context would have applied equally to a male political opponent who had prostituted his stated principles in return for a union endorsement and also happens to be true.

    The staffer was not implying that Whitman sells sexual services for money and let’s face it, if that is what Meg Whitman did for a living she would starve to death.

    This is the height of hypocrisy, because if you think the Whitman campaign has not said worse about Jerry Brown during private moments not meant for public broadcast then you need a glass of milk and cookies.

    Besides, does anyone really believe that after not even voting for 28 years until she decided to run for Governor that Whitman spending $140 million of her own money to buy the office is a reflection of anything but hubris and vanity as opposed to a desire for public service? Because that is the overarching point here.

    October 13, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. Pretzel Logic

    Meg is trying to use the "whore" controversy as a way to distract from the "I employed an illegal immigrant for 9 years" controversy. Not gonna work, Megster. You have given no compelling reason to vote for you for Governor. $140M down the drain. Sure you will right it off on your taxes though.

    October 13, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  18. Don't Be Hypocritical!

    Oh, so it's completely different, according to Whitman, when one can call the other a word she may agree with at the time but when the tables are reversed suddenly she becomes very sensitive to it. What hypocrisy!

    October 13, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  19. Rev. Tanner

    "You know better than that, that's a completely different thing," Whitman responded regarding use of the word "whore." Yeh sure, different if I do it but not you. Another brazen example of her Tea Party-like hypocrisy–Do as I say, not as I do.

    October 13, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  20. GOP Scorched Earth Politics

    Brown did a good job to point out the hypocrisy of the Republicans. They ALWAYS accuse the Dem's of selling-out to Unions and yet Whitman cuts a backdoor deal with the police union...doing the very thing that Pete Wilson complained about. Brown has the integrity to call her out and NOT cut secret deals, while claiming to be against the Unions like Whitman.

    October 13, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. Respect

    Us libs respect women, we just reserve the right to call them whores because of their political leanings.

    October 13, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  22. beth

    Its not the same thing when Pete Wilson says it? 5 year olds use that argument. the discussion over prop 23 was ore important. Meg "standing up" for the investment class by refusing to stand firm behind the best investment opportunity California has offered since Silicon Valley was only known as a suburb of SF. Does conservative only mean don't mess with my current stock portfolio?

    October 13, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  23. What is the country coming to

    Sick of hearing about the W word. However if you vote for this woman what that makes you, she broght your vote.

    October 13, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. Me

    Whitman is a hypocrit if she's gets all bent out of shape over a Brown's staffer using a word her own staffer used. Oh wait, we knew she was a hypocrit when she had an illegal maid.

    October 13, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  25. seebofubar

    Brown is a washed up old dirt who has no buisness running for governer. The Terminator has screwed up that state so much with his liberal policies that it would be state suicide to elect an even more liberal idiot. Word to California...put down the joint, move out of your parents basement, let go of your childhood fanitasies, and grow up!

    October 13, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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