Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search

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.

(Page 2 of 2)

"Ms. Whitman goes beyond opposing the Dream Act," Brown said. "She wants to kick you out of the school because you are not documented, and that is wrong – morally and humanly."

Skip to next paragraph

Whitman said the act wasn't fair to legal residents.

"Here is the challenge we face: Our resources are scarce. We are in terrible economic times and slots have been eliminated at the California State University system – I think they're down by 40,000 students. Same is true at the … the University of California system. Programs have been cut, and California citizens have been denied admission to these universities and I don't think it's fair to bar and eliminate the ability of California citizens to attend higher universities and favor undocumenteds.

"This is a very tough situation, but I don't think it's fair to the people who are here in California legally. So I would not be for the California Dream Act and for the federal Dream Act. It is only a partial solution to a challenging situation, and I don't think we can carve out a group of illegal immigrants and get them a path to citizenship when we haven't sorted out control of our borders and getting our arms around illegal immigration."

On cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants:

Whitman has said consistently on the campaign trail that employers should be fined.

"We need a better e-verify system, three strikes and you're out, you get fined, you lose your business license…. If we do not hold employers accountable, we will never get our arms around this very challenging problem.

"And then of course I think we have to eliminate sanctuary cities, and we have to have a temporary guest-worker program, that's a very important part of the entire immigration question. But there is no question that our immigration system is broken."

Brown, the state attorney general, says punishing employers on this issue is not the state's job.

"I strongly oppose state police, state sheriff's, the attorney general's office, going after undocumented people. That is not the business of the state at all and every police chief that I know is opposed to that…. "This is a federal government problem, and the federal government ought to do something about it."

Brown's role in the performance of Oakland's public schools while he was mayor of the city:

Brown was asked to defend the troubled Oakland school system, which Whitman has criticized often on the campaign trail as evidence that Brown will not fulfill his campaign promises. She has asserted that Brown campaigned as mayor to fix education but that the state was forced to take over the city's schools.

"Jerry Brown's record on the K-through-12 education system is abysmal. He ran for mayor of Oakland as the education mayor. Three years later, the state took over the Oakland public school systems because they were $100 million in debt. And he has not accepted accountability for this."

Brown responded that the city's school board controls the public school system and said he was the one who asked the state to take it over: "The mayor of any city, particularly Oakland, has no power over them. I called those people."

He then noted what he said was one of his educational accomplishments.

"When I ran for mayor, I said I want to create charter schools, encourage them and then it might put competitive pressure on the main school system. And you know what, the charter schools went from three to 21 during my eight years as mayor, and I am proud of that."

Three qualities about the other candidate that would help him or her be an effective governor:

"This is going to be tough for both of us, I think. She's smart and she's pretty tough, I can tell you that because I've been campaigning against her for several months. And, um, she's had a pretty interesting set of job experiences." – Brown.

"I think he cares a great deal about California, he has had a long career in public service, and I really like his choice of wife. I'm a big fan of Anne Gust." – Whitman.

Associated Press Writers Garance Burke and Samantha Young contributed to this report.