SAN RAFAEL — Talk about issues turned personal Tuesday in the final debate of the governor's race, as candidates Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman traded barbs on issues ranging from capital gains taxes to illegal immigration.
The candidates also sounded off on the recent controversies that have shaken what has become the most expensive governor's race in U.S. history.
Throughout the 60-minute debate held at Dominican University, Brown and Whitman repeated themes they've hammered since the June 8 primary, with the Republican painting Brown as a lackey to his union supporters, and the Democrat calling his opponent an out-of-touch billionaire former CEO.
The debate's most heated moments came as moderator Tom Brokaw let the candidates go after one another in a back-and-forth of accusations and rebuttals.
Brown, the state's attorney general and former governor, fired the first rhetorical volley by slamming Whitman's proposal to eliminate the state capital gains tax, saying it would force the state to cut education spending. The tax has generated anywhere from $3.2 billion to $11.7 billion in annual state revenues over the past decade.
He then faced Whitman onstage and said, "I'd like to ask you: How much money will you save if this tax break goes into effect this year or last year?"
Brown's supporters in the audience cheered, and Whitman responded, "I'm an investor, and investors will benefit from this and so will job creators, and I was a job creator."
She then shot back, "My business is creating jobs. Your business is politics. You've been doing this for 40 years, and you have been part of the war on jobs in this state for 40 years."
Whitman later assailed Brown's law enforcement record by highlighting his personal opposition to the death penalty and announcing the endorsement of the California Narcotics Officers Association. Brown noted he has enforced the death penalty as state attorney general, despite his personal views.
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