Jerry Brown was halfway through his speech when the crowd in the courtyard of San Diego’s Cafe Coyote started chanting.
“Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!”
It was the 10th campaign stop in three days, and with three more rallies to go the Democratic nominee for governor basked in the support. Not one for wild displays of emotion, he cracked a rare smile.
“I wish when things got tough I could just invoke that name and something would happen,” he said, as his audience laughed. “Unfortunately, that only works in campaigns. When it gets to government, it’s a little more trench warfare.”
As he had throughout his statewide tour, Brown spoke optimistically about the state’s future, portraying himself as 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 competed with music from a Mexican restaurant across the street, and the occasional critic, as he talked of his plans to invest in renewable energy. He also offered a gentle gibe to Republican rival Meg Whitman, reminding the crowd that she came to California when he was 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, ‘That young governor out there, boy, what a job he’s doing.’ ”
Brown stopped in Los Angeles and then Salinas, where he introduced his wife, Anne Gust Brown, to the crowd. She had joined him on the final leg of his tour.
“This is my wife Anne,” he said. “She’s really in charge of the thing so I do whatever she says.”
“And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything,” he added.
“It’s great to have a strong partner and so you get two brains instead of one.”