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Brown needles Meg Whitman, invokes the Giants, rejects 'message discipline' in campaign tour kickoff

October 30, 2010 | 10:43 am

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown kicked off a three-day statewide tour of California Saturday with a morning rally at his Oakland headquarters, telling more than 100 supporters that while the state faces tough times it also has the potential to bounce back.

"We have the resources. We got the people. We have the weather. We have the beauty. We have the ports, the mountains," Brown said. "We have it all -- and we have the Giants."

The crowd ate it up. Brown used the opportunity to needle his Republican rival, Meg Whitman, and score political points while talking baseball.

"My opponent has been talking a lot about Texas and how great Texas is," he said. "Well, I hope we can show her on the playing fields that California is No. 1 in every sense, along with the San Francisco Giants."

The Giants are playing the Texas Rangers in the World Series, and hold a 2-0 lead. Brown arrived a half-hour late as supporters -- and a few dogs (one in a raincoat) -- milled about in Brown's warehouse headquarters.

Brown's staff distributed bran muffins as he spoke from atop a picnic table, pledging to create jobs and boost the state's sour economy. "We've got to put Californians to work and wherever I can find a way to do that, with federal money, with bond money, with local money, we'll do that, because the people who aren't here, who aren't working, I think about them and I really want to do everything I can," he said.

"And I'm going to be banging on the door of President Obama and Congress because they have to help too." The 8-1/2-minute speech was typical Brown, complete with stories about the origin of the office picnic table and his battles with neighbors over developing a building across the street.

"I don't like the same old, same old," he said. "Some candidates feel very secure with message discipline. I get bored with that." A minute later, however, he finished his remarks. "I think I'll stop there," he said. "I might say something I might regret."

The campaign will hit Stockton, Merced, Fresno and Bakersfield Saturday.

--Michael J. Mishak in Oakland