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Bill Clinton Endorses Jerry Brown For Governor

AP/HuffPost   First Posted: 09/13/10 06:28 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 06:40 PM ET

UPDATE: The LA Times reports that Bill Clinton has endorsed Jerry Brown for Governor:

Former President Bill Clinton endorsed Jerry Brown's bid to become governor on Tuesday, saying he and Brown had put the ugliness from their 1992 primary battle behind them and that Republican Meg Whitman's ad that featured him was misleading.

"I strongly support Jerry Brown for governor because I believe he was a fine mayor of Oakland, he's been a very good attorney general, and he would be an excellent governor at a time when California needs his creativity and fiscal prudence," Clinton said in a statement to The Times.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)-- Candidate for California governor Jerry Brown apologized Monday for taking a swipe at fellow Democrat and former President Bill Clinton over his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

The move came a day after Brown said his Republican rival Meg Whitman had used Clinton footage from the 1992 Democratic presidential primary to lie about Brown in a current campaign attack ad.

In response to the ad, Brown took a jab at Clinton.

"Bill Clinton was an excellent president," Brown told reporters Monday. "It was wrong for me to joke about an incident from many years ago, and I'm sorry."

Brown said he called Clinton's office and apologized to one of the former president's aides, not directly to Clinton.

"The bottom line is Meg Whitman has an ad that has been determined to be false," Brown campaign spokesman Sterling Clifford said "She should take it down."

In the old footage, Clinton called Brown's assertion about his record on taxes "just plain wrong," and said Brown took credit for voters approving Proposition 13, the 1978 ballot initiative that rolled back and capped property taxes.

Brown opposed the measure but embraced it after the election.

"And now he's going around taking credit for it," Clinton said in the footage used by Whitman. "He raised taxes as governor of California. He had a surplus when he took office and a deficit when he left. He doesn't tell the people the truth."

In video from a Sunday event posted on Time Magazine's website, Brown said Whitman has "even got Clinton lying about me."

"I mean Clinton's a nice guy, but who ever said he always told the truth?" Brown said in the video. "You remember, right? There's that whole story there about did he or didn't he."

Clinton and Brown have had a testy relationship since that presidential race. Clinton endorsed Brown's primary campaign rival San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom before he dropped out last year.

Asked if he expected Clinton to endorse him in the governor's race, Brown said, "I expect him to be helpful."

Clinton's office did not immediately respond to a phone message or e-mail from The Associated Press.

As governor from 1975 to 1983, Brown built the state's surplus to $6 billion, but he and the Legislature spent much of it – about $4.2 billion – bailing out local governments and schools after Proposition 13 passed. Their goal was to offset the immediate effects of the lowered property tax revenue.

At the time, the move was praised by tax-cut crusader Howard Jarvis and supported by Republicans in the Legislature.

Filed by Billy Silverman

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