Whitman refuses to pull negative ads, gets booed

October 26, 2010 8:47:40 PM PDT
On Tuesday, in the California governor's race the two candidates sat face to face at The Women's Conference in Southern California. Meg Whitman got booed and Jerry Brown was cheered, but both were on stage with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and TV anchor Matt Lauer.

"In one week left, would either of you or both of you be willing to make a pledge that you would end the negativity?" asked Lauer.

It was clear what the audience wanted the answer to be and Brown answered first.

"If Meg wants to do that, I'll be happy to do that. We can have a little discussion today and I'm sure we can work something out," said Brown.

Whitman took a shot.

"The things that I have been called in this campaign, it's not fair to the voters of California. It isn't the right thing to do," said Whitman.

And had it ended there Whitman would've been in much better shape, but Lauer asked again.

"I'll give you 24 hours because I know the wheels of a campaign don't stop overnight..." said Lauer.

"Well let's be clear about it. If she takes her negative ads as reasonably defined and I'll take mine off, no question. We do it together. No problem, I pledge that right now," said Brown.

Whitman equivocated saying she'll take down any personal attacks.

"But I don't think we can take down the ads that talk about where Gov. Brown stands on the issues. I just think it's not the right thing to do," said Whitman.

Sensing that, Brown raised the bet.

"Hey look, I got one nice ad where I look into the camera and I just say what I'm for. You have a very nice ad where you look into the camera, it's a pretty good ad by the way, we can but both of them on and let all the other ones go off. I'll agree to that right now," said Brown.

Whitman wouldn't agree.

"I just think it's important for people to understand what the track record was in Oakland, what the track record was as governor," said Whitman.

And the audience reaction got worse when she went on the attack.

"Jerry Brown in many ways left this state in worse shape than he did when he inherited it. No, listen, let me tell you," said Whitman.

Whitman kept going and so did the cat calls.

"I think Meg Whitman stepped into it. I mean, I don't understand why she didn't do the very simple thing that every candidate in the world would do which is to say, 'I'll do it if he does it,'" said ABC7 political analyst Bruce Cain, Ph.D.

Cain said for Whitman it was a lost opportunity.

"And it's not something she needs when she's down anywhere from 8 to 13 points," said Cain.

Whitman is at The Woman's Conference, she was the only woman on the stage, the audience is almost entirely women and they were booing her. It was not a good day for Whitman.

Brown's campaign has already put out that clip on YouTube.


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