FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — GOP candidate Meg Whitman blamed Democratic opponent Jerry Brown Saturday for the controversy over her former illegal immigrant housekeeper, saying he and his campaign were making the maid a target for deportation.
"The real tragedy here is Nicky. After Nov. 2, no one's going to be watching out for Nicky Diaz," Whitman said, referring to her former housekeeper of nine years, and turning to face Brown directly. "And Jerry, you know you should be ashamed, you and your surrogates ... put her deportation at risk. You put it out there and you should be ashamed for sacrificing Nicky Diaz on the altar of your political ambitions."
Brown fired back, saying Whitman was evading responsibility.
"Don't run for governor if you can't stand up on your own two feet," Brown said in a moment fraught with tension soon after their second debate began Saturday. "You have blamed her, blamed me, blamed the left, blamed the unions. But you don't take accountability."
The exchange came as Whitman tried to regain momentum with Latino voters after a tumultuous week. She was forced to explain how she had an illegal immigrant housekeeper on the payroll for nine years and, according to her, didn't know it.
She also is addressing allegations from the housekeeper's attorney that she and her husband should have suspected the worker's status because of a Social Security Administration letter mailed to their home in 2003.
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