Moderator Tom Brokaw asked some excellent questions at the debate, but he didn't hold Whitman and Brown to answer them.
In response to a question about how they would correct California's smoke and mirrors budgeting, both Whitman and Brown claimed to have a plan. Brown's plan is to take the tough choices to the voters and let them decide.
"I want something entirely different and I also want to start at the top, I want to see the governor cut 10 to 15 percent out of his budget," says Brown.
Whitman accurately pointed out that specific doesn't amount to much.
"If he cuts 15 percent out of the budget, he's going to save $2.7 million which is less than 1/100 of 1 percent of the $20 billion deficit that we face," said Whitman.
Fact Check: Neither candidate has a detailed plan. Whitman says she'd reduce the state workforce by 30,000, but hasn't said where those jobs would be eliminated Brown says he wants to bring all 120 legislators to the process, but hasn't detailed what he would advocate.
On the economy Whitman accused Brown of killing jobs.
"You've increased regulations, you've increased taxes, and you've made it more difficult for small businesses to grow and thrive here," said Whitman.
Brown said all charges have been proven false.
"Pointed out by her home town newspaper The San Jose Mercury News and my home town newspaper the Oakland Tribune," said Brown.
Fact Check: Both Whitman and Brown are hedging. Unemployment did go up during Brown's years as governor, but the nation was in a recession.
Brokaw pointed out four states with Republican governors had higher unemployment rates.
Whitman said AB 32, the state's global warming laws, would hurt the economy.
"Today only three percent of our jobs are green jobs and 87 percent of jobs are in the other part of the economy and AB 32 is going to do real damage to 97 percent of the jobs in the rest of the economy," said Whitman.
Fact check: Whitman's math is misleading. Carbon intensive jobs like oil refining and trucking will face increases, but they are not 97 percent of jobs. Brown insists AB 32 will create jobs.
"I mean yes, the oil companies are screaming, but let me tell you if you put thousands of people to work retrofitting buildings so they don't burn as much energy, that will put people to work here, it'll save money to consumers," said Brown.
Fact Check: This is disputed by a legislative analysts' report that AB 32 will negatively impact the state's economy at least in the short term.
On education Whitman points out that 40 percent of California's education funding goes to administration and overhead.
"Sixty cents of every dollar goes to the classroom, 40 percent goes to the bureaucracy," said Whitman.
Fact Check: That's misleading. The 60-40 split is accurate, but not Whitman's description. The 40 percent also pays for school buses, cafeterias, janitors, heating, cooling, librarians, school nurses and the like. California's 60-40 split is in line with the rest of the country; the national average is 63-37.
This was the final debate in the governor's race but Brown and Whitman are scheduled to appear on the same stage once more. On October the 24 they've agreed to sit down with governor Schwarzenegger for an unscripted conversation.