SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – One day after agreeing to debate Neel Kashkari once before the November election, Gov. Jerry Brown suggested Tuesday he may not be the most enthusiastic participant – or at least isn’t inclined to talk about it yet.
“I don’t have any comments here,” Brown told reporters as he left the Lake Tahoe Summit, where he gave the keynote speech. “Sitting among the beautiful trees at the waters of Lake Tahoe, my mind is drawn more to poetry than politics.”
Brown has done almost no public campaigning ahead of the November election, yet he is far ahead of Kashkari both in fundraising and public opinion polls. Before Monday, the third-term Democrat had said he was unsure if he would debate Kashkari at all. Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury Department official, had called for 10 debates, echoing a call Brown made four years ago in his race against Meg Whitman, but Brown’s campaign said Monday that a Sept. 4 debate in Sacramento will be the only contest Brown participates in. The date happens to coincide with the first nationally televised game of the regular NFL season.
In his remarks at the event, an annual gathering of politicians, environmentalists and researchers at Lake Tahoe, Brown, governor before from 1975 to 1983, reflected on patience and the incremental nature of politics.
Brown ran for president in 1976 – the first of his three unsuccessful presidential campaigns – after just more than a year in office. He said it has taken him 40 years to learn patience.
“I was in a hurry,” Brown said. “But you know what? I’ve slowed down. I’m trying to slow the clock.”
The 76-year-old governor said he is trying now to enjoy “whatever this decade is that I’m now in.”