Highlights from Brown, Whitman debate for California governor
In their second face-to-face debate, Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown covered a range of issues, including immigration, health care, and education. The race is too close to call.
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Health care reforms:
The candidates differ greatly on federal health care reforms signed into law earlier this year. Whitman says the law will hurt the economy and should be repealed, while Brown defended it as the best avenue for the uninsured.
"That's the only game in town right now," Brown said. "There will be some problems like, for example, it needs more cost control. But it is a framework to bring in children and to bring in people who have no other way of getting their health insurance."
Whitman focused on the costs to small businesses of implementing the health care overall.
"The problem is Obamacare is going to make it worse for small businesses, not better…. So at a time when we need to make it easier for small businesses, we're going to make it harder.
"We should open up California to more insurance competition so there's more choices for the people, more ability to buy plans. Second, we should make sure that we eliminate the fraud in Medicare and Medi-Cal."
Arizona's immigration law, which requires law enforcement officers to check identification papers if they suspect someone is in the country illegally:
Whitman has said she supports Arizona's right to enact the law for its state but not for California.
"I have been entirely consistent on my immigration stance from day one of this campaign…. I have said I was not for the Arizona law. What is true is the federal government has abdicated their responsibility, and I said I thought it was a state's rights issue to decide what each state thought was important for them. And I have said that I do not think the Arizona law was correct in California. If such a law came to me, I would veto it."
Brown said Whitman was trying to have it both ways.
"As far as the Arizona law, she's says the Arizona law is OK for Arizona. So she's for the Arizona law for the people who are suffering right now, the people who are cleaners in Arizona. Here in California, where they're not proposing the law, she says it doesn't apply here."
On giving those in the country illegally a pathway to citizenship:
"Illegal immigration is just that, it is illegal. And we need to make sure we have the workers that the economy needs to grow and thrive," Whitman said. "My solution, in part, to that is a temporary guest-worker program. One of the great things about America and California is that we live in a rule of law. There is a judicial process, and we have to abide by that. So I think the best thing that I can do to help the Latino community in California is as first and foremost, as I said, jobs."
Brown said it was wrong for the U.S. to lure temporary workers into the country and then send them home when they are no longer needed.
"This is about human beings. And you don't bring in temporary workers and then when you've used them up, you send them back…. You don't just bring in semi-serfs and say, 'Do our dirty work,' and then we're finished with you like an orange and just throw it away. That's after you've squeezed it. That's not right."
California Dream Act:
Asked by a student at California State University, Fresno, if they would favor giving citizenship to certain U.S. high school graduates who were brought into the country illegally as children, the candidates disagreed.
Brown said he supports federal legislation that would allow young people to become legal U.S. residents after spending two years in college or the military. At the same time, Brown said he would sign state legislation that would make it easier for illegal immigrants to receive financial aid from California's public universities and colleges. Schwarzenegger recently vetoed such a bill.