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. not rich

    Pug Whitman is a classic Republican. Boring, obnoxious and insufferable. She is a serial mudslinger. As she presses forward with her campaign to nowhere she is seriously wounded. By now I would expect her to enjoy a 10 point lead in the polls and instead she is tied with a guy they call "moon beam". She is such an inspiration to think I have diarrhea.

    September 24, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  2. T'SAH from Virginia

    "look[ing] like Detroit – it's awful."

    This COMMENT should COST Whitman the election. But the Democrats are too busy JUMPING ship and getting LAZY and not uniting the BASE!!! How dare she make a statement like this??

    So tell us Whitman – what does DETROIT look like?????? How many shades ‘darker’ is it than you are??

    African Americans think our fight is over because an African American President just got elected!!!! It's NOT OVER!! It's only just beginning and we need to GET IN THE PROGRAM!!! The Political world 'does not stop" after a Major Election!!!

    There is so much 'hidden racism' going on NOW it's not funny!! And some White Americans will blog and feel that we're making a BIG DEAL over this 'racism' thing because it doesn’t exist anymore!!! Are we supposed to BELIEVE that and then get back in our SHELSS and ACCEPT it???? Hell No!!!!!

    The far-right EXTREMISTS are trying to take over and if you think there is NO MORE racism in America – you need to THINK AGAIN!!! Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, and Gays – you name it – are being discriminated against every day!!! It's not just a BLACK thing anymore it's all of the above!!! And for bloggers to blog that racism no longer exists – tells the story where America is going!!

    If we allow the FAR-RIGHT Extremist – brought to you by the RepubliCAN'Ts – sponsored by Palin, Beck, Limbaugh, ginGRINCH, Hannity, Backmann, Paul, O'Donnell, Palladino, Angle, Rubio and I can GO ON – then we ARE through and NO ONE should complain when it's all over.

    DEMOCRATS – GET OUT and UNITE the BASE!!! We can't even depend on the Independents anymore because they don't have a party!! They just SWAY back and forth wherever the stream flows and most are RepubliCAN'Ts anyway!!!

    This is T'SAH from Virginia – not the Impersonator – and I approve this message!!!

    September 24, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. Daniel Schlafer

    ' Fresno is awful ! " , does not sound like " Fresno was hit very hard by the recession ! " ? She may have made millions off EBAY , but even Republican gubnatorial candidate Meg Whitman must realize as an elitest , that you can not say anything and expect to get away with it . She has pumped $ 100 million into her gubnatorial campaign to see her name on the general electtion ballot in November . She is running against an extremely eccentric , California legend , named Jerry Brown . Brown made some headlines when he re-insulted former President Bill Clinton and that got him Clinton coming out on the Californai campaign trail for Brown . Brown has committed to spending only the bare minimun against defeating Whitman and defeat her he can do .

    September 24, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. Brian in MD

    The CDC should quarantine Biden, his disease is spreading.

    September 24, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. JTrujillo

    I know that statistically there has to be someone intelligent and educated in the GOP. But man, is it hard to find.

    September 24, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  6. Clwyd

    Words speak better than back tracks. She can't buy back what she said can she? Since $120 million is only a small amount of her wealth, but lack of intelligence!

    September 24, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  7. Jack

    Foot and Mouth Disease isi and understatement!

    September 24, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. Rob

    Haha....she just said what everyone is thinking. Fresno, like most of the central valley, is just awful. Last time I drove through there a guy on the freeway next to me was loading bullets in his gun while joke!

    September 24, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. thomas

    How money can make a Diva !
    Why doesn't she run for Mayor of Fresno before buying status as Queen of California !
    The only water issue she understands comes in the way of FiJi bottled water !

    September 24, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. Chris

    WOW, she finally said something I can relate with. From my point of view Fresno is awful.

    September 24, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. Mikey Bobby

    I want to know why Meg Whitman is so willing to disperse her personal fortune to buy this election... Is she expecting massive under-the-table kickbacks? Is she really so altruistic and just wants to rescue California? What gives?

    September 24, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. Terry

    With the millions and millions she is spending in this race you'd think she could afford to hire a consultant to tell what stupid things not to say. On second thought, it hasn't helped Ms. Palin all that much either.

    September 24, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. OPIE

    YEAH YEAH nice try. by the way there is a shoestring stuck between your teeth! i'm sure you will buy your way out of this one..........


    September 24, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. Hap

    Yeah that's what I said but you heard it wrong, B.S. Maybe if she'd have given all the money she spent fueling her power ego with this campaign to the Central Valley the place would look better. Such a sad thing the GOP has become, even sadder some middle class people still vote for them.

    September 24, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. ReddirtTXn

    Seems none of them ever figure out how to watch what they say (look at Harry Reid's latest gaffe calling that senator from WA "the hot one", or something to that effect. And lest we not forgot the ultimate Human gaffe himself, ladies and gentleman give it up for Vice-President Joe Biden!)

    September 24, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  16. CEvans, Texas

    Just like a republican!! Backtrack what? What's said is said!! The way she really feels!!

    September 24, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. Charles

    On this one she is right Fresno is awful. But as a newly mined politician she is not supposed to speak the truth!

    September 24, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    All of California looks like Detroit from where she sits, it's called being a billionaire. If you're not in her club, then you must be a "scumbag", when's the last time you sat down at the table with a millionaire let alone a billionaire. NOT.

    September 24, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  19. Will

    This is how republicans see people, if things are going ok for you then you can be part of there club. If things start to go bad for you then you get kicked out of there club and thrown to the curb. I am not a democratic but Republicans are a heart less get the hell out of my way unless you can help me make a buck party. Since all they have ever cared about is the rich once it looks as you are no longer raking in the cash, you become free game for Republicans and all there insults, almost like you are no longer a citizen of this country.

    September 24, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. What

    I still don't see her saying that Fresno is 'awful'. I see her saying that it is awful that Fresno is becoming another Detroit though...

    Quotes, out of context. Nice!

    September 24, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. Republicans is smart in the head area

    However, no one is backtracking from saying that Whitman is awful.

    September 24, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. GOP Scorched Earth Politics

    The Heckler yesterday was 100% spot on, despite Gov. Christie trying to silence him. Whitman seems to be hiding her true agenda. Yes indeed she is Arnold in a skirt. Why is this egotistical Billionaire trying to purchase her own government??? No thanks I'd rather vote for Brown because he tells it like it is.

    September 24, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. Ben

    She can spend all the money the US mint makes but still can't hide the fact she's incompetent and an extremist.

    September 24, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  24. Olaf Big

    Well, it's awful truth. Fresno is not Malibu beach....

    September 24, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. guitarharry

    Politicians...y'gotta love 'em! No, wait, actually you don't.

    September 24, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
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