The room is slowly filling up this evening at Club Nokia, where Attorney General Jerry Brown is expected to address the crowd after 8:30 p.m. He passed through at 6:15 and spoke briefly with reporters. Then, the room was empty, filled only with the sound of two big screens broadcasting the Lakers-Celtics game.
When asked if he had contempt for Meg Whitman's campaign spending tens of millions of dollars, Brown said no. He seemed almost emboldened by it, rather than daunted.
"People do what they think is appropriate," said Brown. "I do think that if you want someone to treat our money like they treat their own, then I think you ought to take a very hard look at my candidacy. Because I've run a frugal campaign.
"I've recognized as governor and as mayor that we have to live within limits. And I think that is the hard lesson for America, for California, and I guess for some of these Republican candidates who've just finished with this what I could call a billion dollar demolition, demolition derby."
Brown was asked about the budget mess California is in and where the cuts will come from.
"We're gonna cut everywhere we have to. And we're gonna cut, not in secret, not on a podium, but with the people in cooperation with the legislators and all the voters. We're facing a crisis, and unless we change profoundly the way we govern, we're not gonna get anywhere.
"We've had a Republican from the outside come and say 'hey, I'll fix it.' Sounded Good. But it didn't work. Now we have another Republican saying, 'Now, I can fix it, and I have a pamphlet and a plan.' That's not gonna work either."
Brown laid out his approach to California's economic troubles.
"This is gonna take, first of all, being honest with the voters. It's gonna take frugality, and it's gonna take innovation. And that's the way we're gonna get from where we are to where we need to go. It's not gonna happen in a year. It took us a decade to get here and it's gonna take a long time to get out."
Brown was asked if the Republican "demolition derby" in the primary helped him.
"If they were working in homes for the poor, and feeding the sick and dying, and educating young children, they'd be stronger candidates than they are today."
When asked about his stance on immigration, Brown said, "Well, I think that the country was moving in the right direction when Republicans like George Bush and John McCain as well as Democrats like Ted Kennedy and others were saying we need a comprehensive reform, and that's what I think."