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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

CA: Dan Walters Gives the Debate Edge to Whitman

Dan Walters writes in the Sacramento Bee:
Whitman was clearly the more aggressive during their third and last debate at Dominican University in Marin County, taking advantage of the Brown campaign's embarrassment about an accidentally recorded phone message in which someone close to Brown, in his presence, called Whitman a "whore" in obtaining a police union endorsement.
Brown apologized again, but then may have stumbled by declaring that calling someone a whore is not as bad as using the N-word to describe an African American, running the risk of alienating women, who are half of the state's voters.
Sensing an opening, Whitman declared that California "deserves better than slurs and personal attacks" and that calling someone a whore is "a deeply offensive term to women."

By and large, both stuck to their standard positions on those issues and at every opportunity returned to their core campaign themes – Brown that Whitman is a tycoon who lacks political experience, Whitman that Brown is a political retread beholden to unions.

However, Whitman presented a more animated and extemporaneous demeanor than she had in past debates, while Brown, one of the glibbest politicians ever to draw a breath, often found himself on the defensive and made a couple of verbal gaffes.

If debating is scored by how one meets, falls below or exceeds expectations, Whitman probably won on points Tuesday night – although whether her jousting with Brown has any lasting effect on their campaigns remains uncertain.