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Brown Makes Apology to Whitman for "Whore" Comment

California gubernatorial candidate's Republican Meg Whitman, left, and Democrat Jerry Brown, are seen before the start of their second debate held at California State University, Fresno in Fresno, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010. Rich Pedroncelli/AP

In a televised debate moderated by Tom Brokaw, California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown apologized to Meg Whitman, his Republican counterpart, for someone in his campaign camp referring to her as a "whore." The comment came to light last week in an audio recording.

During the debate (see the Los Angeles Times play-by-play), Brown at first dismissed the audio recording. "It's a five-week-old private conversation," he said, and made a comment about the recording not being legal, but managed to offer what could be construed as an apology.

"It's unfortunate, I'm sorry it happened, and I apologize," Brown said.

Following is the recorded conversation at issue:

Brown: "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."

Unidentified voice: "What about saying she's a whore?"

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

Last week, Brown's campaign manager Steven Glazer said, "We apologize to Ms. Whitman and anyone who may have been offended."

Whitman was unsatisfied with Brown's apology at the debate Tuesday evening. "It's not just me but the people of California who deserve better than slurs," she said.

On the subject of immigration, Brown mostly steered clear of the allegations that Whitman knew that she had employed an undocumented worker, and Whitman didn't point to the Brown camp as the source of a smear campaign against her.

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Instead, Brown criticized Whitman for not getting her former housekeeper, Nicky Diaz-Santillan, a lawyer to help with her immigration problem. "She says no to a path to citizenship and that is basically treating people from Mexico as semi-serfs, work 'em and send 'em back. It's not right," Brown said.

Whitman spoke about the need for an e-verify system that could help employers be more accountable.