The recording came from a phone answering machine. Brown had left a message with a member of the Los Angeles Police Union asking for the union's support. At the end of the call Brown thought he had hung up, but the line stayed open, and as Brown talked to aides about the union supporting Whitman in exchange for her support over union pensions, you can hear a Brown staffer calling Whitman a "whore."
Brown: I've been warned if I crack down on the pensions I will be? they'll go to Whitman and that's where they're going... because they know Whitman will cut 'em a deal that I won't She'll ******* do anything.
Aide: What about saying she's a whore [inaudible] whore.
Brown's campaign issued an apology, saying, "At times our language was salty. We apologize to Ms. Whitman and anyone who may have been offended."
Whitman's press secretary, Sarah Pompei, says that is not enough.
"This is clearly more than salty language," said Pompei. "I mean, this is an offensive comment to all Californians, not just to Meg Whitman, not just to women, but to all Californians, and it has no place in the political discourse."
Republican senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina called it terrible language. "It's insulting to all women. He ought to be ashamed of himself."
Fiorina's opponent, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, was asked for her reaction, but said she hadn't heard about it.
Brown staffers remained behind closed doors Friday with no comment other than Thursday's statement. ABC7 political analyst Bruce Cain says Brown is making a mistake.
"So they have to identify the person who said that and they have to fire that person," said Cain. "That's essentially what Barack Obama did when he had similar incidents."
Cain points to 2008 when Obama aide Samantha Power was quoted calling Hillary Clinton a "monster." When the headlines hit the newsstands, Power resigned.
"He can make this be a long story by not dealing with it immediately and promptly and decisively, just as Meg Whitman made the Diaz story by not dealing with it upfront and definitively," said Cain.
Cain is referring to the Whitman's housekeeper story that was brought to light by Los Angeles discrimination lawyer Gloria Allred. Today Allred told ABC7, "The person who referred to her as a 'whore' was wrong. It is offensive for anyone to have used that term. The individual who said it should apologize." She would not, however, say if she thought the person should be fired.