The general election hadn’t even started yet when California’s Democratic candidate for governor, attorney general Jerry Brown (who already served as governor from 1975 to 1983), compared his soon-to-be Republican opponent, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, to Hitler’s minister of propaganda over the weekend. According to Doug Sovern of KCBS, who posted the exchange to his blog Wednesday night:
“You know, by the time she’s done with me, two months from now, I’ll be a child-molesting … ” He let the line trail off. “She’ll have people believing whatever she wants about me.” Then he went off on a riff I didn’t expect.
“It’s like Goebbels,” referring to Hitler’s notorious Minister of Propaganda. “Goebbels invented this kind of propaganda. He took control of the whole world. She wants to be president. That’s her ambition, the first woman president. That’s what this is all about.”
Obviously, Whitman wasn’t too appreciative. “Jerry Brown’s statements comparing our campaign to a propagator of the Holocaust is deeply offensive and entirely unacceptable,” read a statement released by her campaign yesterday. Faced with a decision on how to respond, Brown’s campaign came up with a novel defense of his remarks, one that we think is probably unprecedented in the history of political damage control: It was just “jogging talk”! See, Sovern’s encounter with Brown took place when the sprightly 72-year-old candidate was jogging near his home. So whatever Brown said was “taken out of context.” It’s a rule, apparently. If you ever want to slander your opponent with Nazi comparisons, just do it while running at a medium pace.