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Bill Clinton.JPGFormer President Bill Clinton endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown today just two days after Brown mocked him during a campaign appearance. Brown apologized yesterday for that statement, in which he questioned Clinton's honesty and joked about the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Clinton issued his endorsement in a statement to The Los Angeles Times, saying, "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."

According to The Times, Clinton said a current ad run by Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman featuring Clinton was "misleading" and that Brown and Clinton had buried the hatchet after decades of animosity.

"Moreover, the tough campaign we fought 18 years ago is not relevant to the choice facing Californians today," Clinton said. "Jerry and I put that behind us a long time ago."

Finally, Clinton explained his endorsement last year of Brown's primary challenger Gavin Newsom, who dropped out of the race in October.

"I endorsed Mayor Gavin Newsom for governor before he withdrew and became a candidate for lieutenant governor because of his strong support for Hillary (Clinton) in the 2008 primary season and because of his impressive record of innovation and accomplishment," Clinton said. "He can really help revitalize California as lieutenant governor."

During a speech Sunday, Brown had said of Clinton, "Clinton's a nice guy, but who ever said he always told the truth? You remember, right? There's that whole story there about 'did he or didn't he?' OK, I did, I did not have taxes with this state."

As The Bee wrote today
, Clinton and Brown have feuded since the 1992 presidential primary, when both men vied for the Democratic nomination.

UPDATE: Brown spokesman Sterling Clifford said about the endorsement, "As Jerry said yesterday, Bill Clinton was an excellent president. We're very pleased to have his endorsement and we look forward to a good race."

UPDATE: Whitman spokeswoman Andrea Jones Rivera responded, "The fact remains that President Clinton's criticism was correct. Jerry Brown turned a surplus into a deficit, he opposed Prop. 13 and average taxes were higher when Brown was governor. Not to mention Jerry Brown has a record of decades of support for higher taxes even after he was governor."

Photo: Former President Bill Clinton greets the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colo., on August 27, 2008. (Chuck Myers/MCT)



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