Gubernatorial Debate "Truth Squad"

Katy Grimes: I took pages of notes during tonight’s debate, but one question kept popping up in my mind when Jerry Brown was answering questions – what’s his plan? Brown did not offer specifics to the questions asked by a panel made up of Amy Chance with the Sacramento Bee, Kevin Riggs with KCRA Channel 3, and Marianne Russ from Capitol Public Radio.  And a couple of softballs were even tossed Brown’s way by one panelist.

Whitman had to field questions about her lack of public service (employment) experience, and defend “cheap overseas labor,” as well as Wall Street big whigs, while Brown successfully redirected one question back to talking about green business, green jobs, solar and renewable energy. Brown even insisted that green jobs were the savior to California’s financial woes, while Whitman said green jobs were only 3 percent of the entire jobs market.

Brown did not have to defend his entire career in public service.

Brown was funny at times offering up silliness about his age, while Whitman was serious — but she did launch a few funny quips, although rehearsed.

The most obvious omission of the evening was that Brown did not once mention the importance of creating jobs in the state as a way to improve the economy. He ran on his past record as governor and Mayor of Oakland, and insisted several times that his age was a bonus for Californians.

Brown used several Democrat talking points, including the “George Bush playbook,” “Oil companies,” “rich millionaires and billionaires,” and “solar and green jobs.”

Chance told Whitman, “Fact checking organizations say your ads are misleading and worse,” the question implied.

“While I don’t agree with the premises of the question, let’s discuss the Clinton ad,” responded Whitman. She spoke of her ad featuring former President Bill Clinton criticizing Jerry Brown’s record, when Brown was running for President. “Brown doesn’t like it because it calls out his record.”

Riggs asked Brown if he agreed with a path to legalization for llegal immigrants. Brown said he does agree with the policy, only as part of a “federal comprehensive plan.”

Russ asked Whitman, “… with $119 million of personal money spent on campaign, are you trying to buy the office of the governor?” Whitman said several times that when elected, she won’t owe anyone favors, especially public employee unions, and said she thinks voters know politicians can’t buy elections.

One panelist asked Whitman how the economy could improve with all of her tax-cutting measures, clearly demonstrating a lack of understanding of a traditional economic staple (lower taxes encourage people to spend, meaning higher revenues to the state).

Reading comments on Twitter, it’s apparent that some Democrats aren’t entirely comfortable with the outcome. One Twitter fellow said, “Its apparent that if/when Whitman loses, she plans on running for Gov of Texas.” Such brilliant analysis about Whitman’s comments on the success Texas is having luring California business away from our high-tax, heavy regulations state.

KCRA Channel 3 held post-debate analysis and referred to themselves as “The Truth Squad.”  They referred to the KCRA facebook page, and reported that posters decided that Brown won the debate, hands down – how discerning.

SEPT. 28, 2010

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