September 24th, 2010
01:28 PM ET
12 years ago

Whitman backtracks from calling Fresno 'awful'

(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.

Filed under: Jerry Brown • Meg Whitman
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. T'SAH from Virginia

    To all who wants to BLOG and laugh about President Obama was supposed to come down from HEAVEN and perform miracles – Remember, JESUS had a hard time too and YOU never know!!! Jeez!

    All of those who are DOWNING the President and believe the GOP has a better plan – is in for a RUDE AWAKENING. The GOP’s pledge is based on LIES and they are not offering anything!! They are campaigning on the Health Care Reform bill and pretending they are REPEALING it – they are NOT!! They are removing what they believe is GOOD – which is MOST of it – and eliminate everything else because they know it’s a good plan but don’t want to admit it!! They will NEVER succeed in repealing Health Care Reform. They are LIARS and America better wake up!!

    Those who should REALLY WAKE UP are the Democrats who are betraying their party!!!! We have made so many accomplishments in the past two years that YOU will NEVER see again if the RepubliCAN'Ts take over!!! No one is doing their own research and finding out the TRUTH on their own!!! Many Americans rather believe the FOX Liars – Palin – Limbaugh – Beck – Hannity – Gingrinch – Cheney – which means they are in favor of far-right EXTREMISM!!!! Democrats ARE NOT far-right EXTREMIST – so WAKE UP!!!

    DEMOCRATS – they DO NOT POLL US – they POLL Republicans and don't let the HYPE fool you!!!!! The POLLS lie and it's all propaganda to get us to STAY HOME or CHANGE our VIEWS!!!!

    Please check on Small Businesses and see what the RepubliCAN'Ts consider a SMALL BUSINESS – Health Care will benefit us more than it will NOT and the RepubliCAN'Ts have NO INTENTIONS on Repealing it – Financial Reform, Don't Ask Don't Tell – Getting rid of Social Security – getting rid of Medicare – getting rid of the Education Fund – Pro-Choice – keeping current TAX CUTS in place for the RICH; NO ONE makes over 250,000 a year that I know and most likely 0will NEVER see 250,000 in five years!! But yet the RepubiliCAN'Ts are making you believe that they are helping you by leaving the TAX CUTS as they are – more of the SAME and more of BUSH POLITICS… WE CANNOT ALLOW THE REPUBLICAN'TS TO TAKE OVER THE HOUSE/SENATE!!!!!

    WAKE UP AND SMELL THE CORRUPTION!! Don't believe the POLLS – get out there and VOTE and stop waiting for someone else to fight for you. All Americans will pay for the consequences of a RepubkliCAN’T takeover!!

    I am T'SAH from Virginia – FIRED UP – and ready to UNITE the BASE and back our President Obama!!!!! Two years is NOT ENOUGH TIME to straighten out the MESS the RepubliCAN’Ts caused in the first place and was handed to President Obama!!!

    September 24, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  2. BD70

    Love it....the back peddle of the politicians.

    September 24, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. Rob

    What a witch...........

    September 24, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. Robert

    Vote for Jerry Brown!

    September 24, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. Mike

    What she was trying to communicate was, "Ew! Poor people live here. Let's get OUT of here." Whilst her nose was firmly stuck in the air.

    September 24, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  6. Steve-O

    "Fresno has a population of over 500,000"...and how many of those 15% unemployed are illegal aliens who haven't paid a dime in taxes for the past 4-5 generations?! Hmmm? Anyone? Trickle down economics, right into the sewer!

    September 24, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  7. Sagebrush Shorty

    What's the problem? Fresno does look like Detroit.

    September 24, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  8. S in California

    Get this "Meg" you will NEVER buy my vote. You wicked, greedy, self-righteous money lover.

    September 24, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. Klaxon McFlinderginder

    Just another "I'll say anything" candidate.

    September 24, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. See Novak

    Hair-splitting. She meant the situation was AWFUL. 15% unemployment is AWFUL. THe fact that it's not getting any better is AWFUL

    September 24, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. vic, Nashville TN

    Jerry Brown leading in the polls don’t call tight race CNN

    September 24, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  12. SOCAL

    With an unemployment 50% higher than the nation at large, Fresno doesn't look great. Bad comment but not newsworthy. Fresno doesn't need this press. To be fair the Bidenisms on Fox are just as bad.

    September 24, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. BobInIrvine

    Right, Meg. Just like you never pushed the co-worker at e-Bay (till it was shown you did).

    Honestly, do we want this kind of backpedaling billionaire as our Gov?

    September 24, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  14. FoolKiller

    "she inartfully described the central California city as 'look[ing] like Detroit – it's awful.'" And yet no one in Michigan batted an eye...

    September 24, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. Thomas

    I'd like to hear more about how eBay how to pay out a $200K settlement to an employee who Whitman shoved or slapped because the woman didn't give her enough or all the right "talking points" to be able to go into a business meeting.

    Is that really the type of person California wants running the state?

    September 24, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. Refudiation

    Whoever has the most money wins.

    September 24, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. jim

    This is why you've got to choose yur words carefully when running for office.People will take anything you say and twist your words into what will help them politically.What she meant to say makes sense logicaly but what came across to some people hurt their feelings and seemed like she was talking their community down.

    September 24, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. P.G.

    Has anyone actually ever been to Fresno?

    September 24, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. Cindy in Ohio

    As a former Californian and a career ebayer I feel I have to warn California. Jerry Brown has a history of doing what he can to help California, don't believe this Nut-Meg's baloney! She's spending millions of her OWN money, what's that tell you?? She's BUYING the election. She and Carly Fiorina are responsible for 1000s and 1000s of job loss. Do you really want someone like that running the state??

    September 24, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  20. DIANA

    Admit it Meg, you said what you meant the first time. I don't know how this woman could even come close. I pray that other Californians come to their senses and don't let this woman buy their votes. As a Californian, I for one am not for sale.

    September 24, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. Derrick

    She's lying, she meant just as she said it. Now trying to clean it up just to get more votes. People better start really studying what is going on. They will lie, cheat, still and kill to get what they want. Better recognize!

    September 24, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  22. Russ

    Yeah, OK, Right! She thinks the place stinks and would never go there except to campaign. You think her $1000 shoes will ever take a step in Fresno after the election? Not likely. This silver spoon fed woman is not the kind of person California needs to get it out of the mess it is in. Jerry Brown has proven time and again that he represents the interests of the people.

    September 24, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. John

    Just another Saran Palin want to be,dumb,lies and it the media fault.

    September 24, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  24. Johnjon

    I know exactly what Ms. Whitman was trying to convey. As a displaced person from the Detroit area currently living in Atlanta, all I can say is if you've never visited Detroit, you should not have an opinion. My partner and I moved to metro Atlanta 5 1/2 years ago because of the poor state wide economy in Michigan and everyone we know looks ta us in disbelief when we tell them that we would move back yesterday if we could. Yes, Detroit has it's problems, but the area as a whole is a beautiful, friendly, wonderful area to live and raise a family. Ferndale, Royal Oak, Pleasant Ridge, Birmingham......... all Detroit suburbs that we miss every day. I'm sure Ms. Whitman has never set foot in metro Detroit, should keep her comparison's to her self and her mouth shut.

    September 24, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  25. H

    C'mon now Meg.

    September 24, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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