While it may not be any clearer who'll get the most votes for California's governorship in November following their third and final debate Tuesday, at Dominican University, one thing's for sure: Jerry Brown won't be voting for Meg Whitman, and she won't be voting for him.
As Democratic nominee Brown scowled menacingly, and Republican candidate Whitman snickered nervously, debate moderator Tom Brokaw played referee during a heated hour of questions and answers, plus a few and snide comments, between the two contenders vying to run the country's biggest state.
The candidates offered plenty of talk of "plans," "moving forward" and "job creation," but few details emerged about how either Brown or Whitman could achieve their stated goals to reform California state government.
Whitman stuck to her tightly scripted platform of "reducing taxes [the capital gains tax, specifically, decreasing regulations and competing for jobs" while the at times too-often-unscripted Brown talked about tightening the screws on the budget-challenged state Legislature.
A few other highlights:
Brown, in response to Whitman's plan for a guest-worker program for illegal immigrants: "She wants to treat Mexicans like semi-serfs; bring 'em in, work, 'em, then send them back. I don't think it's humane; I don't think it's right."
Whitman, in response to Brokaw's question about her late interest in California politics: "I'm not proud of my voting record."
Brown, in a gaffe that sounded as if he was about to say police chiefs were in his back pocket: "I've got the police chiefs in my back... er, backing me."
Brown, talking about Whitman's firing of her long-time nanny after it was revealed she was undocumented: "I don't even want to get into it, it's a sad tale... but after working there nine years she didn't even get her a lawyer."
Whitman, about Brokaw's analogy between a Brown campaign staffer referring to Whitman as a whore and someone calling an African American the N-word: "I don't agree with that comparison."
Besides the memorable one-liners during their final public debate, the two candidates did take time to outline their differing policy positions.
Whitman held fast to her message about job creation, while Brown talked of returning political power "to the local level."
Whitman asserted that the California of today is different than the one she moved to 30 years ago -- the one that allowed her to rise to a head a successful business -- saying, "the California dream is broken."
"I want to bring that California dream alive," she said. "Tough tradeoffs" and "shared sacrifice" are needed, she added.
Brown hammered the billionaire Whitman as a friend of the wealthy and attacked her stance on eliminating the capital gains tax for businesses, but he was on the defensive as Whitman attacked his prior record as governor and his relationships with teacher and public employee unions.
"My track record is creating jobs," Whitman told Brown. "Your business is politics."
She then accused Brown of leading California into higher unemployment as governor, a charge Brokaw himself deflected by saying a number of Republican governors oversaw states with higher unemployment at that time.
Recent polls have Brown, the Democratic attorney general and former governor of the state, leading Whitman, a Republican and former eBay CEO, by a small margin in the final weeks leading up to the Nov. 2 election.
As the candidates sparred off on stage at Tuesday night's debate, another candidate for California's top post was arrested for trying to enter the debate using another person's ticket, San Rafael police said.
Oakland resident and Green Party candidate Laura Wells, 62, attempted to gain access to Dominican University's Angelico Hall at 5:20 p.m. when she presented a ticket that police said was not issued to her.
For security reasons, tickets to the event were numbered, coded, and checked by campus security before ticket holders were admitted to the debate hall.
Police said Wells refused to cooperate with campus security when they requested she surrender the ticket.
Wells became argumentative and refused to leave the area, police said, even after she was warned that if she persisted she would be subject to a citizen's arrest because she was on private property.
A security officer placed Wells under citizen's arrest, and she was subsequently taken into custody by San Rafael police officers and escorted from the grounds. Wells was cited and released for trespassing.
According to a statement released by the Green Party of California, she will be required to appear in court on Election Day.
"Republicans and Democrats will go to any lengths, even arresting candidates, to keep the truth from California voters," Wells said in the statement. "There are solutions, but voters aren't being allowed to here (sic) from independent candidates."
In 2002, as a Green Party candidate for state controller, Wells polled more than 400,000 votes.
Protesters associated with the Green Party of California who were upset that Wells was excluded from the debate picketed the event by wearing green gags covering their mouths.
"The debate is a fraud. Limiting it to Whitman and Brown is not just anti-green, it is anti-democratic and anti-republican," Wells said.