Brown, Whitman square off in UC Davis debate

U.C. DAVIS, Calif.

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The economy is clearly job one for California's next governor. Republican Meg Whitman touted her experience as e-Bay's CEO and pushed tax breaks to stimulate the job market.

"If we can eliminate the factory tax, that would mean more jobs, more companies in California. So we'll have higher tax revenues. The truth is we are not competitive to neighboring states."

Democratic Attorney General Jerry Brown, who was Governor in the 70's and 80's, emphasized the future.

"My plan is to invest in clean energy, the green technology of the future."

Brown: "We can build 20,000 megawatts, and again become the leader in wind, solar, geothermal."

Whitman: "The truth is 3% of the jobs today comes from green jobs. 97% comes from the rest of the economy."

The best lines of the night came on the topic of public pensions. The 72-year-old, having been in public service for 40 years, is eligible for about $80,000 a year when he retires.

Brown: "If you elect me as Governor, I won't collect til I'm 76. If I got a second term, I'll be 80. So I'm the best pension buy California has ever seen."

But on a serious note, Whitman got a zinger of her own saying Brown can't fix the pension system since his campaign contributions are from labor unions who might ask for favors.

Whitman: "Putting Jerry Brown in charge of negotiating with the labor unions around pensions, around how many people we have in state government ... is like putting Count Dracula in charge of the blood bank."

Brown: "I'm the only Governor that ever vetoed pay raises for all public employees. I did it once, I did it twice. I'll do it again if I have to."

Nearly 20 percent of voters are still undecided in this race. Brown is fighting an anti-establishment mood among voters. And Whitman is trying to fight perceptions she is trying to buy the governor's race with a record $120-million she has donated to her own campaign.

The next debate is this Saturday at Fresno State.

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