Brown Faces PR Disaster Over 'Whore' Remark About Whitman

Friday, 08 Oct 2010 11:45 AM

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California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown is grappling with a horrible PR problem over the reports that an aide, an associate, or — some suggest — the attorney general himself referred to Republican opponent Meg Whitman as a whore. The story broke Thursday when PolitiCal, the Los Angeles Times’ political blog, reported that a voice-mail machine accidentally taped the derogatory term as Brown and an aide or aides discussed the endorsement competition between him and the former eBay CEO over police endorsements.

whore, Jerry Brown, Meg Whitman, CaliforniaThe comment came after Brown called the Los Angeles Police Protective League in early September seeking its endorsement and left a voicemail message for a union official. Brown apparently believed he had hung up, but the connection remained, and the voice-mail machine captured an ensuing conversation between Brown and aides. “Do we want to put an ad out? . . . That I have been warned if I crack down on pensions, I will be – that they’ll go to Whitman, and that’s where they’ll go because they know Whitman will give ‘em, will cut them a deal, but I won’t,” Brown said.

At that point, what appears to be a second voice interjects: “What about saying she’s a whore?” “Well, I’m going to use that,” Brown responds. “It proves you’ve cut a secret deal to protect the pensions.”

Brown campaign spokesman Sterling Clifford said the attorney general was responding to the notion of accusing Whitman of cutting a deal to gain endorsements, not to the use of the word “whore.” Campaign staffers are trying to determine the identity of the second speaker, he said.

Some folks believe they won’t have to look too far. Some — particularly those at the “Morning Joe” roundtable this morning — speculated that the voice sounds eerily like Brown’s.

Who said it doesn’t matter to the Whitman campaign.

Whitman spokeswoman Sarah Pompei said: "The use of the term 'whore' is an insult to both Meg Whitman and to the women of California. This is an appalling and unforgivable smear against Meg Whitman. At the very least, Mr. Brown tacitly approved this despicable slur and he himself may have used the term at least once on this recording."

Pompei demanded an apology, and Brown campaign manager Steven Glazer complied, saying: "This was a jumbled and often inaudible recording of a private conversation. At times, our language was salty. We apologize to Ms. Whitman and anyone who may have been offended."

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