Brown's comeback: What makes him tick
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While he campaigned little, Jerry spent a minimum amount of money, concentrating on being Attorney General and earning "free media" by taking action on several fronts.
He embraced his age as a sign of experience and his past as a pleasant memory. The shock of black cowlick was gone, replaced by the familiar Brown family baldness. Jerry always admired forceful women, and now he had at his side his perfect match, Anne Gust, attorney and former chief administrative officer of the Gap Corporation.
They married twice, in a civil ceremony and then in charming St. Agnes Church, on June 18, 2005.
From the nation's youngest governor in 1975, to its oldest in 2011, Brown's victory margin last November was just over 1.3 million, about the same as in 1978.
Few can claim to really know Jerry Brown, but here are some characteristics to consider:
He is tough, confident, spiritual, and intellectually secure.
He is intrigued by government and how he can make it achieve results.
He can be brutally frank and expects people to follow his lead.
He is not intimidated by anyone, either from wealth, public position or intellectual standing.
He speaks to officials, billionaires, geniuses and labor leaders as on an equal footing.
Jerry understands political strategy, but leaves tactics to specialists.
He believes in diversity in gender, ethnicity, and individual rights.
He has a limited desire for personal wealth or possessions.
He loves simple pleasures including the outdoors, nature and beauty.
He is little interested in labels like liberal and conservative. He is pragmatic, and believes in facing facts as a rational way of attacking challenges.
Jerry has a natural curiosity in almost all fields
He is capable of acting swiftly without being entangled in red tape.
And he enjoys being different within limits.
One Republican strategist told us that he has "high hopes" for Brown as governor even given the depth of the challenges.
Whether he is right or not, one thing is for sure: It will be interesting.