NEW LONDON, N.H.--Former California Gov. Jerry Brown has returned to Democratic presidential politics with an angry anti-incumbent campaign aimed at the most deeply disillusioned of America's voters.
"There's a reason why things have gone in the same direction. Because there's a lot of money behind it. Money to buy the campaigns...to keep the status quo paralyzed," Brown told Colby-Sawyer College students last week during his first campaign visit to the nation's earliest primary state.
Forget partisan distinction. Brown is running against "the system," not Democrats or Republicans.
"Most of the time [politicians are] just raising money from a fraction of the people to buy campaigns to stay in power to keep doing the same things," said Brown, who is limiting contributions to his campaign to $100 per person.
It's the kind of language voters love to hear, but there's a comfortable buffer protecting Brown's rivals from his diatribe. Nicknamed "Governor Moonbeam" and labeled everything from futurist to flake, Brown has an image problem.
"He's too much of a dreamer. His ideas are a little too far out," said Walter Plumer, 51, of Durham, remembering Brown's second run for the nomination in 1980.
The image recurred Friday night at a roast for freshman New Hampshire representative Dick Swett that drew the five major presidential hopefuls.
Hearing Brown tell more than 500 state Democrats they constitute "a greater political mass" people sitting with House Minority Leader Mary Chambers, a supporter of presidential hopeful Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, exchanged knowing looks.
"Here he goes," groaned one, fearing a philosophical tangent.
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