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Jerry Brown, Bill Clinton rally thousands at UCLA

October 15, 2010 | 10:29 pm

Former President Clinton campaigned throughout Southern California on Friday, urging Democrats to shake off their moribund mindset and head to the polls so the Obama administration can finish the job it started.

Clinton told thousands of listeners at an evening rally at UCLA that they bear responsibility for the nation’s future.

"It is not enough to have voted for a new president if you will not help him govern and stick behind the members of Congress who stood for him," Clinton said as a light drizzle began to fall. "I am pleading with you, you need to go out and tell everyone who is not here tonight that any college student in the state of California that doesn’t vote in this election is committing malpractice on your own future."

Kicking off a string of high-profile appearances by political surrogates in California, Clinton campaigned for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom, who is running for lieutenant governor, at UCLA, and, earlier, for Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) in Santa Ana.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will rally Republicans in Anaheim on Saturday, the same day U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) campaigns with GOP Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina in San Diego.

Next Friday, Obama is scheduled to rally supporters at USC.

Brown’s GOP rival, Meg Whitman, said Clinton’s appearance in blue-leaning California shows the desperate straits Democrats face.

"We’re seeing more Democrats come to California than we’ve seen in many years," she told reporters after mingling with voters at an In-N-Out Burger in suburban Sacramento. "Clearly, there’s a battle going on here … It’s going to be a real fight to the end."

Brown and Clinton have a fraught history, dating to their tangle in the 1992 Democratic presidential primary. Whitman used 1992 debate clips of Clinton slamming Brown's tax record and character in an ad she aired earlier this year.

Frustrated by the ad, which relied partly on an inaccurate report, Brown lashed out, calling Clinton dishonest and joking about his dalliance with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Brown quickly apologized, and Clinton endorsed him soon after.

Both men have said that their past is forgotten and they have a common cause, but on Friday the Whitman campaign had some fun with the matter, premiering a six-minute film called "The Way We Were: Starring Jerry & Bill," at a downtown Los Angeles theater. It featured scathing footage of the two men attacking one another.

-- Seema Mehta