By DEREK MOORE - THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Jerry Brown chose Santa Rosa to make his first foray onto the campaign trail in several weeks Wednesday night, rallying hundreds of Democratic Party faithful with a stump speech that held true to the candidate's off-the-cuff style.
Using no notes and with his suit jacket removed, the 72-year-old Brown spoke inside the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Hall on everything from pension reform to the benefits of meditation.
He argued that he has a broader base of experience in life and in politics than his opponent in the governor's race, Republican and former EBay executive Meg Whitman.
"I know all the mistakes. I've made them all," Brown said.
Brown's appearance at the Vets Hall followed an exclusive fund-raising event at the McDonald Avenue home of former Congressman Doug Bosco, who has long known the attorney general and former governor.
Brown has been making fund-raising rounds for most of the summer as he wages an uphill money battle against Whitman, who has poured more than $100 million of her own money into her campaign.
Some Democrats have privately worried that Brown is letting the momentum get away from him by sticking to private events.
Brown, whose family vacationed at the Russian River when he was a child and whose father, Pat Brown, also served as governor, compared campaigning for governor to being on the rocky shore, grabbing hold of a rope swing and "letting go."
But if people were hoping that his appearance at the Democratic rally was a sign that he is fully embracing the public fray, Brown squelched the idea in his opening remarks.
"The campaign starts after Labor Day," he said. "Save your energy."