CBS Buries Jerry Brown Campaign’s ‘Whore’ Slur Against Meg Whitman

After ignoring on Friday morning the story of California Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman being called a "whore" by an aide for her opponent, Democrat Jerry Brown, CBS started to catch up on the story – but also buried it somewhat – on the same day’s CBS Evening News and again on Saturday morning’s The Early Show. While ABC’s World News and the NBC Nightly News both devoted full reports to the controversy – about one-and-a-half to two minutes in duration – on Friday, the CBS Evening News only gave the story 40 seconds, waiting until 18 minutes into the show – right after a full story was devoted to the Harry Reid/Sharron Angle race in Nevada. The reports on ABC and NBC had started about six to seven minutes into each show.

Saturday’s The Early Show gave 28 seconds to the Brown/Whitman story within a report filed by CBS correspondent Whit Johnson which also dealt with Democratic efforts to defend their congressional majority from Republicans.

NBC overall gave the story the most attention, including full reports on the Today show on both Friday and Saturday, and on Friday’s NBC Nightly News. ABC covered the story on Friday’s Good Morning America and on the same day’s World News. More details on Friday morning coverage of the story on ABC and NBC can be found here.

Below are transcripts of the relevant stories from Friday’s World News on ABC, the CBS Evening News, and the NBC Nightly News; followed by Saturday’s The Early Show on CBS and Saturday’s Today show on NBC:

#From the Friday, October 8, World News on ABC:

6:36 p.m. 1 minute 30 seconds in duration

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: In other political news, another twist in the tight race for California governor. For days, Republican Meg Whitman has been on the hot seat over an illegal immigrant housekeeper. Now it’s Democrat Jerry Brown’s turn, thanks to an aide using a word that shouldn’t have been used and wasn’t meant to be heard. David Wright has the story.

JERRY BROWN, CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE: Hey, Scott, give me a call, Jerry Brown, love to talk to you.

DAVID WRIGHT: The latest bomb shell in the California governor’s race came from a voice mail message that kept recording after Democrat Jerry Brown thought he hung up. He was seeking a union endorsement but got word the union was about to back his opponent.

BROWN AUDIO: Do we want to put an ad out?

WRIGHT: At that point, a second voice chimes in with a harsh word about Republican Meg Whitman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE: She’s a whore.

ANDREA JONES RIVERA, MEG WHITMAN CAMPAIGN: These are offensive comments that have no place in any conversation at any office – worst of all, in the middle of a gubernatorial campaign.

WRIGHT: The Brown campaign has apologized for the salty language.

BROWN AT DEBATE: This is a question of talking out of both sides of your mouth.

WRIGHT: At their most recent debate, Brown called Whitman a hypocrite for employing an illegal immigrant as a nanny for nine years. Whitman called Brown a bully.

MEG WHITMAN, CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE: It was a political stunt-

WRIGHT: On the air waves-

CLIP OF AD: Whitman was caught reaping millions from insider stock deals.

WRIGHT -the two candidates have traded endless barbs – $ 140 Million spent on ads, including $ 120 million from Whitman’s own pocket, a new record. This campaign seems to be bringing out the worst in these two candidates. David Wright, ABC News, Oakland.

#From the Friday, October 8, CBS Evening News :

6:48 p.m. duration 40 seconds

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Twenty-five days now until the midterm elections, and in the battle for control of the Senate, we’re following the critical contests that will decide it. The Republicans need a net gain of 10 seats to retake the Senate. The latest analysis by our CBS News election team finds 12 seats now held by Democrats are at risk. That includes the seat held by the top Democrat, Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Ben Tracy reports that Reid is fighting for his political life in a race that’s down, dirty, and, oh, so close.

UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR IN AD: Introducing Sharron Angle’s crazy juice!

BEN TRACY: In Nevada, it’s become a race to the bottom.

UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR IN AD: Harry Reid, the best friend illegals have ever had.

TRACY: In a new ad, Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle says Senator Harry Reid even supports child molesters.

UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR IN AD: Reid actually voted to use taxpayer dollars to pay for Viagra for convicted child molesters and sex offenders.

TRACY: Reid calls Angle a pathological liar.

UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR IN AD: More crazy talk and outright lies.

TRACY: For the Tea Party, this is the biggest Senate race in the country.

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: It would show not only that they have influence, but that they have enough influence to knock off the most powerful Democrat in the Senate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE PROTESTER: Save America!

TRACY: Tea Party groups have rallied in Reid’s hometown and have now spent more than $ 1 million, mostly on TV ads. Yet Harry Reid has another tough opponent, the economy. The unemployment rate here in Nevada is the highest in the nation, and the foreclosure rate is worse here than anywhere else. That’s made Reid deeply unpopular and an easy target for Republicans. And yet Sharron Angle’s own words could be keeping Reid alive. She suggested Americans may need to bear arms against the government, and that Islamic law is being set up in some U.S. cities, calling it "a militant terrorist situation."

BILLY VASSILIADIS, ADVISER TO SENATOR REID: She’s not of this planet, and it would be embarrassing to the state for her to be our U.S. Senator.

TRACY: Even some Republicans worry. On Thursday, a top party leader in Nevada reluctantly endorsed Reid, citing Angle’s calls for privatizing Social Security and Medicare, calling that extreme. But her supporters say she has the momentum. Do you think if you had a more moderate candidate, you’d be doing a lot better?

ROGER STOCKTON, WESTHAM REPRESENTATION PAC: I don’t think so. If the Dalai Lama ran against Harry Reid, he’d be attacking him for his choice of clothing or for hanging out with too many bald people.

TRACY: The bottom line is that a surprisingly high number of voters in Nevada dislike both candidates, and a whopping 10 percent plan to vote none of the above, which makes this dog fight in the desert still a tossup. Ben Tracy, CBS News, Las Vegas. 40 seconds at 6:48

RODRIGUEZ: In another hotly contested race, some nasty language was caught on tape, and that’s tonight’s campaign 2010 hot sheet. In the California governor’s race, Democrat Jerry Brown and an aide were caught on voice mail blasting Republican Meg Whitman, accusing her of cutting a secret deal with a police union. A warning, the language is graphic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE #1: What about saying she’s a whore?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE #2: That’s good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE #1: Whore.

VOICE OF JERRY BROWN: Well, I’m going to use that.

RODRIGUEZ: It’s not clear who spoke the offensive word, but the Brown campaign apologized to Whitman and anyone else who may have been offended. A Whitman spokesman said the language was an insult to the women of California.

#From the Friday, October 8, NBC Nightly News :

7:07 p.m. 2 minutes 10 seconds in duration

BRIAN WILLIAMS: And now to the governor’s race here in California. It has been a rough one by any standard, but it’s now hit a new low thanks to a piece of audio recorded on a voice mail that was not supposed to be for public consumption. Our report tonight from NBC’s Lee Cowan.

LEE COWAN: As campaign calls go, the one Jerry Brown made to the offices of a Los Angeles police union last month sounded pretty routine.

JERRY BROWN AUDIO: Hey, Scott, give me a call, Jerry Brown, love to talk to you.

COWAN: Brown left a voice mail, but when he hung up-

BROWN AUDIO: Your support means a lot to me Thanks.

COWAN: -the call didn’t disconnect. What was then captured was an impromptu strategy session, the sausage making of political campaigns. And much like sausage making, it wasn’t pretty. On the call, Brown sounded frustrated. He mused that he had lost the police union’s support because he’d threatened to cut public safety pensions, while his opponent Meg Whitman promised something different.

BROWN AUDIO: 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?

COWAN: Suddenly, what appears to be a second voice is heard.

BROWN AUDIO: What about saying that-

UNIDENTIFIED VOICE AUDIO: She’s a whore! Whore!

BROWN AUDIO: Well, I’m going to use that. It proves you’ve cut a secret deal to protect the pensions.

COWAN: Whitman, anxious to divert headlines from her undocumented housekeeper troubles, responded almost immediately. "The use of the term ‘whore’ is an insult," the statement read. "This is an appalling and unforgivable smear." Brown’s campaign insists he was responding to the notion of Whitman cutting a deal, not the idea of name-calling, but admitted, "At times our language was salty. We apologize to Ms. Whitman and anyone who may have been offended." Still, the Whitman campaign says this isn’t the end of it. The two are scheduled to face-off for their third and final debate next week, where the less than endearing term is sure to be brought up again. Lee Cowan, NBC News, Los Angeles.

#From the Saturday, October 9, The Early Show on CBS:

REBECCA JARVIS: Midterm election campaigns are entering the homestretch, and the White House is putting out its biggest stars with the hopes of saving some Democratic candidates trailing in the polls. And, as November looms, a new strategy is emerging. CBS News correspondent Whit Johnson is at the White House this morning and more with the story. Good morning, Whit.

WHIT JOHNSON: Rebecca, good morning. Tomorrow President Obama and Vice President Biden head to Philadelphia for another big rally. The White House is hoping to reignite and reenergize the Democratic base – and they’re doing it by calling out some familiar names.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: In this Senate race, two groups funded and advised by Karl Rove have outspent the Democratic Party 2 to 1.

JOHNSON: In Illinois this week, President Obama used Karl Rove as Democratic bait, the latest strategy to get voters fired up over millions of dollars of political ads paid for by special interests.

CLIP OF AD: Friends don’t let friends vote Alexi.

JOHNSON: Meanwhile, Republicans are staying on message calling the upcoming election a referendum on President Obama.

JOHN BOEHNER, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: As Americans, we have to decide, do we want another two years of job-killing policies coming out of Washington? Or have we had enough?

JOHNSON: As party leaders refine their agendas, some statewide races are getting nastier by the day. The California governor’s race, a recorded conversation between Democrat Jerry Brown and his staff has added fuel to an already hostile contest.

JERRY BROWN, CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE, IN AUDIO: They know Whitman will give ‘em will cut them a deal but I won’t. But she will probably believe it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE: What about saying that she’s a whore?

JOHNSON: The Brown campaign apologized for the incident, but a spokesperson for Meg Whitman called it appalling and unforgiveable. The President and Vice President have been on the campaign trail for weeks stumping for various candidates, but next week, for the first time this election year, Michelle Obama, the First Lady will hit the road for a number of endorsements and fund-raisers across the country. Rebecca?

JARVIS: And, Whit, last night on his program Bill Maher did another thing putting himself into this debate. He posted a photo of an Ohio politician – you see it there on your screen – posing in SS uniform. How’s it going to, Whit, impact elections there?

JOHNSON: Well, Rebecca, that’s Rich Iott, Republican and Tea Party favorite. At ths point, all indications are the race is gong to go to the Democrat anyway, but he did defend himself to the Atlantic, saying that this was not a Halloween costume, this was simply a World War II Nazi reenactment group he used to be a part of. He does not subscribe to the tenants of Nazism. He says he is simply fascinated with the history of Nazi Germany, but certainly not something he wants to talking about this close to the election.

#From the Saturday, October 9, 2010, Today show:

LESTER HOLT: Now, to California’s bruising gubernatorial race, and the already ugly campaign may have reached a new low. NBC’s Lee Cowan reports.

LEE COWAN: As campaign calls go, the one Jerry Brown made to the offices of a Los Angeles police union last month sounded pretty routine.

JERRY BROWN AUDIO: Hey, Scott, give me a call, Jerry Brown, love to talk to you.

COWAN: Brown left a voice mail, but when he hung up-

BROWN AUDIO: Your support means a lot to me Thanks.

COWAN: -the call didn’t disconnect. What was then captured was an impromptu strategy session, the sausage making of political campaigns. And much like sausage making, it wasn’t pretty. On the call, Brown sounded frustrated. He mused that he had lost the police union’s support because he’d threatened to cut public safety pensions, while his opponent Meg Whitman promised something different.

BROWN AUDIO: 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?

COWAN: Suddenly, what appears to be a second voice is heard.

BROWN AUDIO: What about saying that-

UNIDENTIFIED VOICE AUDIO: She’s a whore! Whore!

BROWN AUDIO: Well, I’m going to use that. It proves you’ve cut a secret deal to protect the pensions.

COWAN: Whitman, anxious to divert headlines from her undocumented housekeeper troubles, responded almost immediately. "The use of the term ‘whore’ is an insult," the statement read. "This is an appalling and unforgivable smear." Brown’s campaign insists he was responding to the notion of Whitman cutting a deal, not the idea of name-calling, but admitted, "At times our language was salty. We apologize to Ms. Whitman and anyone who may have been offended." Still, the Whitman campaign says this isn’t the end of it. The two are scheduled to face off for their third and final debate next week, where the less than endearing term is sure to be brought up again. For Today, Lee Cowan, NBC News, Los Angeles.

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