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A Living Record of the California Gov Race

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, June 22 2010

A new project by the Center for Investigative Reporting and California Watch called Politics Verbatim aims to capture the words coming out of Democrat Jerry Brown and Republican Meg Whitman in the California governor's race.

Now that there are just two in the California governor's race -- Democrat Jerry Brown and Republican Meg Whitman -- the Center for Investigative Reporting and California Watch have launched an intriguing effort to document where the candidates stand on the issues of the day.

Politics Verbatim (politicsverbatim.org) is a searchable database of remarks by the current Attorney General and former CEO of eBay on everything from abortion to welfare. Curious how what the candidates said in say, Oakland, matches up with remarks in San Diego? Go ahead and narrow down those comments by location.

"With help from our crack team of interns and freelancers," explains the site, "California Watch staff work each day to catalog every piece of political speech we can find: interviews, articles, YouTube videos, live appearances, direct mail and more. We then break those down one quote, promise or policy point at a time and tag them with subject categories."

Both candidates have recent experience with politicians words having a life beyond their immediate context. Whitman was recently the topic of some off-air comments made by fellow Republican Carly Fiorina, candidate for the California Senate seat. And Brown's reference to Nazi propagandists, made while jogging in the Oakland Hills, was blogged by a reporter and had Brown left saying that from now on, "Mums the word."

The groups involved in Politics Verbatim are eager for press and the public to explore so-called franchise opportunities for the platform. "We've built this system to be generic," reads the site, "so it can just as easily be applied to a local City Council race or coverage of a state budget as it can a race for governor or even president."