At a news conference at the Hunan Hotel in Beijing, the Democratic governor compared his work in California to that of cleaning stables full of dung.
"I'm going to go home from China with renewed zest to, if I could use a classical allusion, cleanse the Augean stables," Brown said. "That's Hercules. Of course it's not a very good idea because no matter how much he cleaned it, it got dirty again."
Brown was accompanied by an interpreter, and his characteristically meandering answers and questioning of reporters did her no favors. One of Brown's advisers suggested at one point that the interpreter stand closer to Brown so he could see her and remember to pause.
Brown objected to criticism of California "from the mouths of some of you media types," and when a reporter asked if greater collaboration between California and China might not hurt some California companies, Brown challenged her to provide an example.
The reporter said she didn't have one, to which Brown said, "If you don't, then maybe there isn't anyone. You have to give me an example."
As Brown left the podium, one reporter in the room appeared to know what anyone covering Brown back home does: His news conferences don't end when he leaves the microphone, but only after he takes questions on his way to the door.
"Excuse me, could I add another question?" a reporter asked.
She wondered if Brown, who last visited China in 1986, planned to come more often.
"Oh yeah," Brown said. "Yes, I intend to."
PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown addresses reporters at the Hunan Hotel in Beijing on Wednesday, April 10, 2013