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'Secret plan' comment sets off Whitman-Brown dust-up

June 15, 2010 |  1:18 pm

When Richard Nixon ran for president in 1968, he was said to have a "secret plan" to end the war in Vietnam. Does Jerry Brown have a secret plan to end the state's budget deficit?

Brown told an audience in Mountain View on Tuesday that he does have a plan but that he won't reveal it until after the election. The remark got some laughs from the audience, but earned a serious response from the Whitman campaign.

"This election and this issue are far too important for Gov. Brown to continue to dodge questions, avoid specifics and shirk responsibility. Simply put: California voters deserve more," said Whitman spokeswoman Sarah Pompei.

By "more," we can presume that Pompei is referring to Whitman, who points to her 48-page policy proposal as an outline of her priorities and plans as governor.

Whitman's campaign even sent a tracker to the Brown event and posted a blurry video of his quip online.

Brown spokesman Sterling Clifford said the comment was "clearly a joke" and that the crowd laughed at the remark. Clifford added the Whitman campaign staffer who shot the video "must not have picked up a copy of the five-page clean-energy jobs plan that Jerry introduced at that event. That's just shoddy staff work."

"I know the Whitman campaign would prefer an endless summer of negative campaign ads, but we're going to talk about the issues, and in depth. She has been invited to participate in that," Clifford said. "Jerry's offer for 10 town hall meetings stands. We hope she'll agree to participate."

-- Anthony York in Sacramento