It was the third and final debate before the Nov. 2 election.
The 60 minute event was both cordial and feisty. Whitman and Brown had heated exchanges over the subjects of taxes, job creation and public employee pensions.
One of the moments that is sure to be played over and over in the coming days involved comments that came to light last week from the Brown camp involving a sexist slur against Whitman. A Brown aide was caught calling Meg Whitman a whore, and although Brown apologized previously, he was forced to answer for it once again.
Brown has been on the defensive since the release of the audio tape in which someone used the word "whore" in describing Whitman's attempt to curry favor with the union representing Los Angeles police officers.
"I'm sorry it happened," he said, turning to Whitman.
He then went on to say the conversation was about Whitman promoting pensions for law enforcement officers while cutting pensions for other employees.
Whitman answered the apology by saying the comment was not befitting of a gubernatorial campaign.
Whitman was put on the hot seat herself for hiring an illegal immigrant as a maid and her well-publicized lack of a voting record.
The reason the stakes are so high is the latest polls show a dead heat between the two. The key to a win is getting the 20-percent who say they still haven't decided who they are going to vote for, to turn their direction. One Cal student watched the debate intently and still came away not sure who she would vote for.
The economy is clearly the most important issue for voters. California's unemployment has been stuck above 12 percent for more than a year and although a state budget was recently passed by lawmakers, California remains mired in debt.
Whitman is a billionaire and former eBay CEO. She has spent $140 million of her own money on the campaign so far and may write herself a few more checks in the coming day.
Brown is a former governor, former mayor, and current Attorney General. He has no personal war chest and has been campaigning on his political experience.
Former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw moderated from a seated position, after recently breaking an ankle.
Here's what the candidates had to say about things in the minutes after they left the stage.