October 2nd, 2010
08:56 PM ET
9 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. key

    I have helped some of my employees with immigration issues that I didn't consider family. I am far from a billionaire

    October 3, 2010 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  2. Sluggo

    Its not 'looming' that much. So she caught the maid lieing and canned her-what else could she do?

    October 3, 2010 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  3. Tanbiker2

    Good bye, Meg. You're a loser. You won't be missed. Move to Mexico, preferably to a border town like Tijuana or Ciudad Juarez. You'll fit right in there.

    October 3, 2010 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  4. Malt

    Whitman paid someone to clean her house. She paid her well. Why is there any debate?

    Vote for Whitman. Brown will just further destroy California.

    I find it hypocritical that democrats are making a big deal about the illegal alien when they are trying to get as many illegal immigrants in the company as possible. You can't win with the kooks on the left.

    October 3, 2010 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  5. Chedar

    Whitman. If you are not gear toward being governor, your best bet is not to run. You seem to blame everyone except yourself for hiring the illegal. While you are pondering whether you are going to drop out, you may want to convince Fiorina to do the same.

    October 3, 2010 03:42 am at 3:42 am |
  6. rdepontb

    See ya, Meg $B. You simply try to buy California. MOre than that, you simply cannot expect us to beieve you!

    October 3, 2010 03:45 am at 3:45 am |
  7. Mod. Repub, vote no!

    America it time we shutdown this GOPTea Party experiment. It's just to risky. To many unknown and untested Tea Party candidates. Moderates Republicans can't support these ban of misguided candidates, this will be the end of the Regan Era.

    October 3, 2010 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  8. Edwin

    This could spill over to the national stage: it shows a supposedly honest republican caught in a fairly blatant lie. It may make independents in other states wonder, perhaps, at the promises and assurances other republicans are making - if they get elected...

    October 3, 2010 04:18 am at 4:18 am |
  9. I'm voting Democrat this time!

    Meg Whitman and the Republicans stance is a Guest worker Program to compete directly with the American worker. The Republicans block the bill to give tax breaks to companies that bring back job from overseas. The Republicans "Pledge to America" to keep sending jobs overseas .The Tea Party don't know it yet, but they just made a deal with the devil. Where in the constitution, that we must ship jobs overseas?

    October 3, 2010 04:42 am at 4:42 am |
  10. Amy

    I wholeheartedly support Meg Whitman.

    Whitman has served as an executive with the Walt Disney Company, DreamWorks, Procter and Gamble and eBay.

    Whitman grew eBay from a company with 30 employees to more than 15,000.

    Whitman is not a “Bush Republican” – she is independent and smart.

    Mr. Brown already had his turn.

    This controversy is a distraction from the serious issues facing California.

    October 3, 2010 05:34 am at 5:34 am |
  11. Steve in North Carolina

    What a circus! California is practically bankrupt and the central discussion is about a illegal housekeeper? I doubt anybody can save Californians from themselves at this point.

    By the way ICE should immediately deport this housekeeper who has obviously committed fraud and has lied since day one about her status. Why would anybody believe her story now?

    October 3, 2010 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  12. ChumBucket

    Are there any leagle house keepers in America?

    Anyways, you can't attack her on this, she has the documentation from the agency she hired her from that says she was legal, everything was above board, and as soon as she found out that she was in fact illeagal, she fired her.

    grasp at straws much libtards?

    Can't win on the issues, so you step up the personal attacks... lame...

    October 3, 2010 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  13. Wake_Up America

    Meg Whitman needs to fight back regarding the undocumented worker. If the person was hired through a contingent workforce agency it is possible that the agency, and not Meg, was the employer.

    October 3, 2010 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  14. Tony


    She fires her illegal maid when she gets ready to run for Governor, but somehow this whole mess is Jerry Brown's fault...

    Truly amazing...

    October 3, 2010 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  15. German,IrishAmerican

    If California is stupid enough to put Brown back in office after destroying their economy the first time, they deserve to slide off into the ocean.

    October 3, 2010 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  16. Gloria Talley

    Meg Whitman should not only be ashamed of herself, but should be taken to court for hiring an illegal alien. Hiring non-residents is against the law and she broke the law. It is especially important that our legislators and politicians uphold the law, and she broke the law instead. I have a daughter who is a Federal Official, and she makes certain by verifying their residency documents that they are legally residing in our country. She hires maids, movers, etc, and is always cognizant of the importance of following the law even though to hire a non-resident might be less expensive. Whitman was caught breaking the law, and instead of turning the table around and making it Jerry Brown's responsibility for exposing her, she should leave her political aspirations as she is a mockery to our government and constitution.

    October 3, 2010 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  17. Greg

    Whitman is your typical Do As I say, Not As I Do Republican. Shameful!

    October 3, 2010 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  18. Ken in NC

    Consider that if she got the job she seeks and keeps it for 8 years, it would pay her somewhere near 1.8 million dollars. That's not a bad peice of change. It's also understandable that even as a millionair she would be willing to work for so little a sum of money becasue of her desire to do public service work, however, I have serious reservations about voting for anyone willing to spend over 120 million dolllars of their own money just to get a job doing public service. I mean she could do the work of a Candy Stripper in a local hospital for a lot less investment. If she would be willing to spend her own money in this manner I shudder think of what she would do with my tax dolllars. Good thing I live in NC.

    October 3, 2010 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
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