Jerry Brown or One of His Aides Recorded Calling Meg Whitman a 'Whore'

Just when the California gubernatorial race seemed to have peaked on drama, a recording of strategy discussions among Jerry Brown and his aides has begun circulating. The governor left a voicemail for a police union official but apparently did not successfully hang up the phone afterward. The union (which has endorsed Whitman) released the ensuing recording, in which an unidentifiable voice refers to Brown's opponent Meg Whitman as a "whore," to the Los Angeles Times. Seema Mehta reports

The comment came after Brown called the Los Angeles Police Protective League in early September to ask for its endorsement. He left a voicemail asking Scott Rate, a union official, to call him, then apparently believed he had hung up the phone. The voicemail captured the ensuing conversation between Brown and his aides.

With frustration, Brown discussed the pressure he was under from police unions to pledge not to reduce public safety pensions. Months earlier, Whitman agreed to exempt public safety workers from part of her pension reform plan: the bid to enroll new government workers in 401(k)-style plans instead of pensions.

"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, a voice -- either that of Brown or a second person -- can be heard saying: "What about saying she's a whore?"

"Well, I'm going to use that," Brown says. "It proves you've cut a secret deal to protect the pensions."

Whitman's campaign has called the use of the word "whore" a "despicable slur" and "an appalling and unforgivable smear against Meg Whitman." Brown's campaign issued a statement apologizing for "salty" language used in a "private conversation."

Read the full story at the LA Times.

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Nicole Allan is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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