California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown was caught on tape in a conversation with an aide, in which that aide called his Republican opponent Meg Whitman a "whore" and CBS's Early Show, on Friday, didn't find that gaffe worthy to report, even though Brown was forced to apologize. ABC's Good Morning America, didn't do much better, as while they did report on the sexist phrased being hurled at Whitman they didn't get around to it, until the second hour of their show. ABC's Juju Chang, in a news brief, noted "Some salty language in the race for California governor. It's difficult to hear, but it's a voice mail recording that captures Democrat Jerry Brown" and an aide, "who used a not-so flattering word to describe" Whitman. Chang went on to play a clip of the aide saying of Whitman "She's a whore."
NBC's Today show, for some reason, bleeped out the offending word, but did offer the most extensive report of the controversy and unlike their morning competitors highlighted the story in the first hour of their program with Vieira teasing at the top of the show: "And caught on tape. A private conversation between California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown and an aide recorded on a voice mail and derogatory word is used to describe rival Meg Whitman. The Brown camp is apologizing but Whitman's camp is calling it unforgivable, today." Vieira's colleague, Natalie Morales, then offered a full story, six minutes into the show.
The following are transcripts of how the October 8 editions of ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today show reported the Brown gaffe:
Good Morning America
JUJU CHANG: Here at home, some salty language in the race for California governor. It's difficult to hear, but it's a voice mail recording that captures Democrat Jerry Brown talking about police pension plans, followed by his aide, who used a not-so flattering word to describe Republican Meg Whitman.
JERRY BROWN: You know, Whitman will give them- will cut them a deal that I won't.
UNIDENTIFIED AIDE: What about that saying that? She's a whore!
CHANG: Whitman called it an insult to the women of California. Brown's campaign has apologized.
MEREDITH VIEIRA: California's race for governor is a tight and bitter one and now there is a new skirmish between candidates over a private conversation between Democratic candidate Jerry Brown and staffers that was inadvertently caught on tape. And Natalie is back with details on that. Nat?
NATALIE MORALES: Meredith, on that tape a Brown aide uses off-color language to describe Republican challenger Meg Whitman, and this morning, as you might expect, Whitman's camp is not happy. What started as a private voice mail from Jerry Brown to a police union official-
JERRY BROWN: Scott, give me a call. Jerry Brown. Love to talk to you.
MORALES: -soon became a conversation caught on tape.
BROWN: Call me back will you?
MORALES: The Democratic candidate for governor thought he hung up the phone, but he was still connected, the conversation all recorded. Brown and his associates were talking tough about Republican competitor Meg Whitman.
(Clip of exchange)
BROWN: Do we want to put an ad out? I've been warned that 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 MAN: What about saying that she's a (bleep)
BROWN: Well, I'm going to use that. It proves you've cut a secret deal to protect the pensions.
MORALES: NBC New obtained the voice mail overnight and shortly after Brown's camp issued this statement. "This was a jumbled and often inaudible recording of a private conversation. At times our language was salty, we apologize to Ms. Whitman and anyone who may have been offended." And Whitman's camp quickly fired back, "The use of the term is an insult to both Meg Whitman and to the people of California. This is an appalling and unforgivable smear against Meg Whitman. At the very least, Mr. Brown tacitly approved this despicable slur and he himself may have used the term at least once on this recording." While it remains unclear what Brown was indeed referring to the voice mail marks just the latest blow in what has become a full-fledged battle out west. Whitman has been under fire as of late. Just last week defending when exactly she knew her housekeeper in the country illegally.
MEG WHITMAN: We hired someone who I thought was here legally, she was not. We unfortunately had to let her go.
MORALES: Whitman says she did nothing wrong and accused Brown of creating, quote, "a political stunt," something her challenger denies.
BROWN: Don't run for governor if you can't stand up on your own two feet and say, "Hey I made a mistake, I'm sorry, let's go on from here." You have a, blamed her, blamed me, blamed the left, blamed the unions but you don't take accountability.
MORALES: And as you can see in this race any and everything becomes a major issue. In the most recent poll of likely voters though, Jerry Brown holds a single digit lead over Meg Whitman, Meredith.
VIEIRA: Nasty stuff.
MORALES: Dirty politics as usual.
MORALES: Yeah, yeah.
VIEIRA: Thank you Natalie.