Aide to rival calls California’s Whitman a ‘whore’

October 8, 2010

USA-ELECTIONS/CALIFORNIAUSA-ELECTIONS/CALIFORNIACalifornia’s personal and unpleasant governor’s race just took another step toward the bottom as a tape emerged in which an aide to Democrat Jerry Brown calls Republican Meg Whitman a “whore” for her attempts to get endorsements from law enforcement.

The Los Angeles Times was given the tape of an answering machine message from Brown to a law enforcement group. Brown apparently didn’t hang up, and so a private conversation was captured on tape. The Times’ blog is here, with the audio tape is at the bottom or here.

The governor’s race is nearly tied — Brown’s taken a small lead recently — and it is nasty, thanks to a fight over Whitman’s hiring of an illegal immigrant housekeeper. Brown, the maverick and former governor running for another try at the top job, says she’s not taking the type of responsibility that she should, given her position that employers should be held accountable for hiring illegal workers. She calls that a lie and says she didn’t know her housekeeper was in the United States illegally until the woman confessed — and Whitman says she’s willing to take a lie detector test.

A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found Californians watching the drama but not basing their votes on the housekeeper scandal. We’ll see what happens with the Brown tape.

The Brown call is a pitch for an endorsement from a law enforcement group. After he thinks he’s hung up, Brown complains that Whitman has bought the support of police by carving out an exception for them in her pension reform plan. ”They know Whitman will give ‘em, will cut them a deal, but I won’t,” Brown says.

“She’s a whore,” another person says.

Brown’s camp confirmed the authenticity of the tape to the LA Times and said it was looking into who the other speaker was. A spokesman later called the language ‘salty’ and apologized to Whitman, the Sacramento Bee reported. Whitman spokesman Sarah Pompei called the term an appalling smear that “at the very least Mr. Brown tacitly approved”. “The use of the term ‘whore’ is an insult to both Meg Whitman and to the women of California,” she continued in an email.

It looks like Jerry Brown’s reputation may take a hit. Brown in the tape did not bridle at all when his aide used the term, and a lot of supporters may be offended that he would condone the use of ‘whore’. There could be a second reaction, though: one of Whitman’s arguments against Brown is that he won’t stand up to the unions, which he helped the last time he was governor and still speaks well of. To hear him in private complaining that he is being penalized for not cutting a deal might lend credibility to his contention that he will be a tough negotiator to get the budget under control.

Photo credit: Reuters/pool (Whitman and Brown at first debate, Sept. 28)

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