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Jerry Brown once again asked to explain Nazi comments

June 17, 2010 | 10:57 am

Jerry Brown tried to explain his recent comments comparing the Meg Whitman campaign techniques with the Nazi propaganda machine. Brown's main defense? He thought the comments were off the record.

Brown made his initial comments to radio reporter Doug Sovern after a run in Oakland, Calif., over the Memorial Day weekend. "I probably shouldn't have" mentioned the name of Joseph Goebbels, Brown allowed Thursday.

But he defended himself, saying he believed the comments were off the record. Noting that he was just finishing up a "vigorous run," Brown said on San Francisco's KGO Radio on Thursday morning, "You don't think you're at a press conference or that you're publishing an official record.

"I got the message. I can't really ever say anything just musing in my mind. But it really does mean that politicians are always very controlled and not very spontaneous in their communications."

Brown was asked if the comments violated his pledge not to make personal attacks during the campaign. "It wasn't mudslinging. It was just kind of cooling down and having a conversation with a couple of guys sitting on their bikes standing next to the little water fountain out there in the Oakland hills."

During the interview, Brown also talked about building a "solar highway," the state's new DNA database.

You can listen to the audio here. (Brown's comments begin at the 14:15 mark)

-- Anthony York, in Sacramento

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