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Brown says he's ready to govern people 'openly committed to their inadequate ideas'

November 1, 2010 |  1:02 pm

Jerry Brown smiled. The Democratic gubernatorial nominee was halfway through his stump speech Monday morning in San Diego when the crowd in the courtyard of Café Coyote started chanting his name: “Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!”

It was the 10th campaign stop in three days, and with three more rallies to go, Brown basked in the support. “I wish when things got tough I could just invoke that name and something would happen,” he said, to laughter. “Unfortunately, that only works in campaigns. When it gets to government, it’s a little more trench warfare through the ideological minefields and small-mindedness of people openly committed to their inadequate ideas.”

As he has in the last three days of his statewide tour of California, Brown spoke optimistically about the state’s future and portrayed himself as a skilled hand able to bring the major political parties together in Sacramento.

“We gotta tackle the tough problems, we gotta live within our means and we gotta bring everybody together,” Brown said. “We’re winning as Democrats but we have to govern as Californians.”

Brown had to compete with the music from a Mexican restaurant across the street as he told the crowd of hundreds about his plans to invest in renewable energy, which he said could help “rebuild the automobile industry” through production of the electric car. He also took a shot at his Republican rival, Meg Whitman, reminding the crowd of his own two terms as governor three decades ago.

“The reason why people come to California, they want new opportunity,” Brown said. “Even Meg Whitman came to California because she was sitting there somewhere back on the East Coast, where the snow was falling, and she looked at California and said, ‘Boy that young governor out there, boy what a job he’s doing.’” He continued: “We welcomed the Whitmans to California and the millions of other people who came. This is the land of imagination and creativity and where people of all backgrounds, of all colors, can find their dreams and realize them, and we oughta keep that going.”

Not everyone agreed. A protester marched outside holding a sign that read, “If It’s Brown, Flush It!” During the candidate’s speech a man stopped his pickup truck in the middle of the street and shouted into the crowd: “He’s a liar!”

For his part, Brown took it all in stride as supporters cheered. “You guys expect a town hall for everybody in San Diego,” he joked. “The only problem with that is you ask me embarrassing questions. And you know what? I do give embarrassing answers. That’s not true, I try to tell it like it is. When I go up there to Sacramento, if I am, you’ll get it straight.”

-- Michael J. Mishak in San Diego