Capitol Alert

Former foes Bill Clinton, Jerry Brown meet in Sacramento

Former President Bill Clinton, left, waves to the crowd with then-California Attorney General and Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Jerry Brown, center, and Lieutenant Governor Candidate Gavin Newsom, right, during a California Democratic Party rally on the San Jose State University campus on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010 in San Jose, Calif.
Former President Bill Clinton, left, waves to the crowd with then-California Attorney General and Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Jerry Brown, center, and Lieutenant Governor Candidate Gavin Newsom, right, during a California Democratic Party rally on the San Jose State University campus on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010 in San Jose, Calif. AP

Former President Bill Clinton and California Gov. Jerry Brown, who feuded bitterly in the 1992 presidential race and maintained a sometimes-frayed relationship in following years, met for about 90 minutes in Sacramento on Monday.

Brown, a fourth-term Democrat, has not endorsed in the Democratic primary contest. But on Saturday he appeared to scold Hillary Clinton rival Bernie Sanders’ insurgent campaign, saying nobody “should be seeking the Democratic nomination with a scorched earth policy.”

A Brown spokesman said the governor and Bill Clinton discussed foreign and domestic politics, including the presidential campaign. They met in the same room at the governor’s mansion in Sacramento where John F. Kennedy and Brown’s father, then-Gov. Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, met ahead of the 1960 election, Brown’s office said.

Brown spent years criticizing Clinton in the 1990s, casting him as a stooge of corporate interests and accusing him during a 1992 presidential debate of funneling public money to Hillary Clinton’s law firm.

Clinton pointed his finger in the debate and returned fire, saying, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself for jumping on my wife. You’re not worthy of being on the same platform as my wife.”

The hostilities between Brown and Clinton grew so prominent that Republican Meg Whitman highlighted Clinton’s criticisms of Brown in TV ads attacking him in the gubernatorial race in 2010.

In response, Brown joked about the Monica Lewinsky scandal at a campaign appearance, asking, “Who ever said he (Clinton) told the truth?”

But Brown apologized quickly, and Clinton endorsed Brown.

“I’m so grateful to Jerry Brown. You know that we're not very far apart in age, and we've been doing this for a long time, and he still cares about your future,” Clinton said when he came to California to campaign for Brown in 2010. “And that is important.”

Clinton was in Sacramento campaigning for his wife ahead of the state’s June 7 primary.

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David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders

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