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Browncard.jpgBy Ben Mullin

Gov. Jerry Brown had an unlikely ace up his sleeve while attempting to woo reporters during his State of the State address today: Sutter Brown.

The 10-year-old Pembroke Welsh corgi appeared on several playing cards given out to members of the media before the governor began his annual speech to the Legislature, drawing mixed reactions.

The playing cards, which appeared in a variety of suits, each featured dog-related aphorisms regarding prudent spending, accompanied by a picture of Sutter Brown's face. The reverse side showed a year-to-year bar graph of California's budget with the heading "huge deficits follow balanced budgets."

"A prudent corgi knows to nibble at his kibble," read one card, which featured a picture of the dog wearing a blue and gold crown. "Save some biscuits for a rainy day," read another.

Senator Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, seized the opportunity to promote upcoming legislation, tweeting,

After reporters asked via Twitter how the governor's office intended to pay for the cards, the governor's press office responded in a tweet, saying that Brown and his wife will foot the bill:

"No state funds were spent on printing playing cards #GoFish," the tweet read.

This isn't the first time that the first canine has been used to promote the governor's political agenda. During the end of the 2012 campaign, the dog went on a state tour to promote Proposition 30 with Jennifer Fearing, the California director of the Humane Society of the United States. The pair visited 30 Democratic phone banks in 30 days to promote the initiative, which eventually passed.

During that tour, every phone banker who put in an hour of work was awarded a Sutter Brown playing card, which had key campaign points on one side and Sutter Brown's height and weight on the other, Fearing said.

"I love that the Governor appreciates Sutter as a compelling 'furrogate,'" Fearing said in an email. "A lot more Californians are going to be talking about the state of the state as a result. Playing cards featuring cute corgis go viral; speeches by politicians, not so much."

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown shows a card with the state budget as he delivers the 2014 State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 at the State Capitol in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua


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