One day after announcing his candidacy for president, former California governor Edmund G. ("Jerry") Brown spoke to a standing room only crowd at Boston University yesterday, calling for "a grass roots effort to make government more sensitive and responsive to the needs of ordinary people."
Brown, who characterized his campaign as a "populist movement," often shouted his statements to a friendly, but noisy, audience.
"This campaign is not just another campaign, but a cause...to take back [our] government from special interests and [political action committees]," Brown said.
Brown, who ran for the presidency in 1976 and 1980, addressed a broad range of issues, including the U.S. role in the war with Iraq, AIDS, women's issues and the Clarence Thomas confirmation.
Brown said that in order to ensure his campaign is free of influences from special interest groups, he will not accept donations of more than $100.
On the issue of the Gulf War, Brown said he was against the initial military involvement against Iraq and that Bush should have tried harder to seek a negotiated settlement to the problem.
Brown conceded that the destruction of Iraq'a nuclear capability was one positive result of the war, however.
Brown also said he supported the right of a woman to have an abortion. "Every woman should have control over their own bodies," he said.
In response to a question on the Clarence Thomas hearings, Brown discussed what he described as his long standing support for women's rights.
Brown pointed out to the crowd that his campaign manager is a woman. He also expounded on his record on appointing women to key positions in his gubernatorial administration.
Brown also reiterated his support for national health care, increased social sector spending and term limits for politicians.
When asked from where he draw the funds to pay for these programs, Brown responded, "the same place where they came up with the money to bail out the S&L's."
A Long Shot
According to one Harvard government expert, Brown has a slim chance at capturing the presidency.
Mark A. Peterson, associate professor of government, said he Brown is "a long shot."
Peterson said, however, that Brown--who has not held public office since 1983--will benefit by that absence.
Peterson said that unlike most of the other candidates, Brown lacks a solid political base, adding that the former governor may have trouble financing his bid with the $100 limit on contributions.