Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown had an angry exchange in their first Spanish-language debate in the race for California’s governorship. Both candidates spoke in English and their answers were simultaneously translated into Spanish for the audience in Fresno.
Jobs and state finances have consistently come up as the most important concerns of voters but this past week Whitman’s former housekeeper has become front-page news.
“You should be ashamed for sacrificing Nicky Diaz on the altar of your political ambitions,” burst out Whitman, who usually is calm and reserved and believes Brown was behind the entire Nanny matter being exposed.
“You want to evade responsibility,” shot back Brown, 72, the state attorney general and two-term former governor. He denied any involvement in the matter. “Don’t run for governor if you can’t stand up on your own two feet and say ‘Hey, I made a mistake, I’m sorry, let’s go on from here,’” he said.
“I did hold myself accountable. It’s just a lie to say I didn’t,” Whitman later returned, turning to look at Brown.
Latino’s make up 1/3 of California’s population and a fifth of the electorate. “I cannot win the governor’s race without the Latino vote,” Whitman said at the beginning of the debate.
“What I can really deliver on for Latinos—I can deliver on jobs and education,” Whitman said, returning to her campaign refrain, which she says reaches across ethnic groups.
“I will do the best I can to find jobs, but also to be fair. I will treat everybody, whether they are documented or not, as God’s child,” Brown promised.