Republican Neel Kashkari got what may be his only debate against Democratic Governor Jerry Brown Thursday. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, neither candidate shied away from attacking the other.
The debate came two months before Election Day, during the National Football League season opener, in a cramped TV studio across the street from the state Capitol. Kashkari came out firing.
Kashkari: “I think Gov. Brown means well, but his 40 years in government have left him out of touch with the struggles of working families. He’s declared a California comeback, and yet our middle class is all but destroyed.”
Brown pushed back, seizing on a question about Kashkari trailing by 16 points in a new poll.
Brown: “I think the question was: How do you expect to win, Neel? And I’ll tell you, you don’t really have much expectation to win, because things have been accomplished in Sacramento.”
Brown repeatedly jabbed at Kashkari’s investment banking career and leadership of the federal government’s bank bailout program:
Brown: “I feel like I’m getting a sales pitch from I don’t know whom? Yeah, Neel – well, you learned your job well there, working at Goldman Sachs and the rest of the people who wrecked the economy. You bailed them out, though, it’s kind of like the arsonist putting out the fire – I really appreciate that.”
Kashkari mocked the governor for some of the bills Brown is signing into law.