Who Won Governor's Debate? Jerry Brown Or Meg Whitman?

Watching Brown speak can be like watching a drunk guy cross an icy street, and he stumbled the most when trying to deal with the "whore" controversy. First, he took issue with Tom Brokaw's claim that "whore" is as bad a slur as the n-word.

"I don't agree with that comparison," he for some reason felt compelled to say. He then went on to offer some excuses -- it was a cell phone, it was garbled, it was five weeks ago -- before claiming it might be illegal to record a private conversation. (Of course, he's the one who recorded it by failing to hang up the phone.)  Finally, he got around to saying what he should have said up front: "It's unfortunate. I'm sorry. I apologize."

After asking about the "whore" remark, Brokaw must have decided he had to balance it out with a question about Nicky Diaz. His question was how Whitman could expect employers to crack down on illegal immigrants if she couldn't figure out that there was one in her own house.

"It broke my heart but I had to fire her," Whitman said.

Brown saw an opening to take a swipe at Whitman, saying "I don't want to get into that story. It's a sorry tale here. After nine years, she didn't get her a lawyer. That could have been done."

There was a lot of sparring on pensions, probably a lot of it totally inscrutable if you didn't know what they were talking about already. There was a bit of back-and-forth over Whitman's endorsement from the Los Angeles Police Protective League, and whether that was due to her exemption of police officers from her 401(k) proposal.

Also, it wasn't clear at the end of the night whether Brown is joined at the hip with the public employee unions, or if has the police chiefs in his back pocket. He got the last word, in which he made the case that he knows how to deal with the special interests and get things done.

"I've been in the kitchen," he said. "I've taken the heat. She's been in the bleachers."

So who won?


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