Faux pas? Meg Whitman says Fresno 'looks like Detroit'

Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman on Tuesday told the San Jose Mercury News editorial board that "Fresno looks like Detroit. It's awful."

According to the Mercury News website, Whitman was commenting on Fresno's economic state and the effect of recession on the region, and the former eBay CEO's campaign said as much in a statement released this morning.

"It was clear in the interview that Meg was talking about the economic duress in Fresno and the awful pain that results from record high unemployment," Whitman spokesman Andrea Jones Rivera said in an e-mail. "Meg knows that Fresno cannot be left behind as it has been in the past when the economic situation around the state gets better but Fresno doesn't respond as quickly."

But Tom Holyoke, a political science professor at California State University, Fresno, said Whitman should know better.

"It was not a smart move on her part," he said. "It was not particularly well thought out. It sounds like an off-the-cuff comment. Off-the-cuff comments are a politician's worst nightmare."

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