Jerry Brown: I'd need a time machine to run for president

Gov. Jerry Brown may not be running for president, but that doesn't mean it's not on his mind.

Asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" if he would jump in the race if he was 10 years younger, Brown said without hesitation, "Yes, I would."

The governor continued, "If I could go back in a time machine and be 66, I might jump in. But that's a counterfactual, so you don't need to speculate on that.”

At 76 years old, Brown is nine years older than Hillary Clinton, the presumed Democratic frontrunner for the presidential nomination.

Brown has sought the White House three times -- in 1976 and 1980 while he was California governor the first time, and then in 1992, when he was a thorn in Bill Clinton's side during the primary.

Not surprisingly, Brown said climate change should be a key issue in the 2016 presidential election. He sharply criticized politicians whom he accused of listening to profit-seeking donors instead of scientists when it comes to the environment.

"The coal companies are not as important as the people of America and the people of the world," Brown said.

The governor also said Ted Cruz, the U.S. senator from Texas who is expected to announce his presidential campaign on Monday, is "unfit" to run for office because he said science doesn't show proof of global warming.

Cruz showed “such a level of ignorance, and a direct falsification of existing scientific data," Brown said. "It’s shocking, and I think that man has rendered himself absolutely unfit to be running for office.”

Follow @chrismegerian for more updates from Sacramento.

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