Bill Clinton and Jerry Brown upped the male bonding Sunday night at a boisterous rally at San Jose State, where the two men warmly praised and embraced each other before thousands of cheering supporters.
It was the second such rally for the former president, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate and lieutenant governor candidate Gavin Newsom after a similarly energetic event held Friday night at UCLA.
Brown appeared more focused and looser Sunday night, hurtling through his stump speech and even referring to his clashes with Clinton throughout the 1990s. He and Clinton gave each other hardy handshakes and shoulder pats, a contrast to the seemingly more fatigued Brown from two nights ago.
"Now I know this president, it's amazing, he took a lot of, a lot of crap from a lot of people, OK - yeah, I did a little myself," Brown said, drawing a laugh from Clinton behind him. "But remember this is the guy that really persevered in the face of the most outrageous Republican opposition."
Brown also tried out rhetorical hits on Republican rival Meg Whitman's lack of government experience, while Clinton listened with arms crossed, as if evaluating Brown's acumen on the stump.
"Here's somebody who never voted, never got involved in the local school boards, never did anything about government or political, and she wants to start at the top," Brown said.
He added, "We're finding out that a billion is not enough if that's all you've got," sparking a thunderous roar from the crowd in San Jose State's event center.
Brown also chided Whitman for not disclosing how much she would personally benefit from her proposal to eliminate the capital gains tax.
"She knows the number," Brown said. "I know my number. By the way, I paid $1,400 in capital gains tax this year. I know. Doesn't she know? I don't know. Maybe somebody stole her tax returns like stole her mail or something."
The last line was a jab at Whitman's suggestion last month that her former housekeeper could have intercepted a 2003 letter from the Social Security Administration alerting Whitman that the housekeeper's data didn't match federal records. The housekeeper, Nicky Diaz Santillan, worked for Whitman for nine years despite being an illegal immigrant.
Asked how much she would benefit from eliminating the capital gains tax, Whitman said Friday at a Sacramento campaign stop, "It's almost impossible to estimate. It depends on when you sell stocks and bonds and all that kind of stuff."
Brown also appeared to respond to recent Whitman ads hitting the Democrat for granting collective bargaining rights to state employees when he was first governor.
"I'm not ashamed that people join unions and bargain collectively," Brown said. The audience, which appeared to include a good number of union members, responded with one of the night's loudest rounds of applause and cheers.
On Friday, Whitman spokeswoman Andrea Jones Rivera said in a statement about Clinton's visit, "Bill Clinton is a loyal Democrat and a persuasive politician, but even he knows today's Jerry Brown is the same old Jerry Brown that Clinton once said 'does not know what he's talk about' and was 'an annoying fellow.'"
Clinton gave a shorter speech Sunday than he did Friday but repeated entreaties to the crowd, which included many college students, to vote next month and prevent a Democratic drubbing at the polls.
"California has always been a state of the future, a state of imagination, a state of dreams, and you have never had the chance to vote for a ticket of people who have done more in their lifetime, in their public service to build the future," Clinton said.
"I've known Jerry Brown since before most of you were born," he continued. "We served together back in the 70s. And we believed in a green energy future back when most people thought you were crazy if you believed that."
"Governor Brown, Mayor Brown, Attorney General Brown, he has always been on the side of positive change."
Sunday night's rally marked Clinton's last stop in a whirlwind tour of the state that started Friday in Southern California. The ex-president also held a rally in Napa Sunday and attended a private event in Silicon Valley with Brown and Newsom.
The Democratic ticket will host another big national name on Friday, when President Barack Obama campaigns with Brown and other Democratic candidates at the University of Southern California.