Politics

Brown challenges Whitman to 10 town hall debates

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Wednesday, Californians got a first glimpse of how the gubernatorial campaigns are going to go, beyond Jerry Brown's experience and Meg Whitman's business background.

In Anaheim, Whitman went right after Brown.

"Jerry Brown took a surplus, raised taxes, increased spending by 120 percent and left office with a deficit," Whitman told a crowd of supporters.

Standing with much less well funded Republican candidates from across California, Whitman did not shy away from talking money.

"People ask me all the time, 'Can elections be bought?' The answer is elections can't be bought but politicians can, and Jerry Brown is bought and paid for by the union bosses," she said.

The one-liners were pretty much a repeat of Whitman's speech at Monday night's victory party.

"And I am ready to give Jerry Brown the hardest and toughest fight he has seen in his 40 years in politics," she said.

Wednesday, Brown seemingly responding to Whitman's script, challenged her to a series of debates.

"Let's have 10 town hall meetings, could be debate style, town hall forums with teachers, educators; let's go to the people of California and have an unscripted exchange about the issues that we face," he said.

Brown told reporters that voters deserve more than campaign ads and staged speeches.

"The broad spectrum of California has a right to hear from the candidates and to see them up close in a real setting where we discuss and we grapple with these tough issues," Brown said.

ABC7's political analyst says Brown needs to find a way to compete with the $80 million that Whitman could spend from now until November.

"I don't see Jerry Brown coming up with anything like that kind of money so it's really going to test his ability to come up with alternative means to mobilize Democratic voters and get his message out there and there's' a danger he could get swamped by all this money," Bruce Cain said.

Cain says Brown will play on his experience and Whitman on her business background in a tough economy.

"I see that it's going to be a pretty competitive race; I don't think Jerry is going to be easily able to dismiss her and I don't think Meg Whitman is going to be able to buy her way out of a close race with Jerry Brown, so I see this as something that's going to be very competitive down to the end," Cain said.

There has been no public response from Whitman on Brown's challenge, but the Brown campaign is saying that she has declined.

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election day, sacramento, meg whitman, jerry brown, politics
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