Jerry Brown on Hillary Email Scandal: ‘Almost Like a Vampire’


On Sunday, Governor Jerry Brown, appearing on Meet The Press, said the email scandal involving Hillary Clinton was “almost like a vampire,” adding that Clinton would have to “find a stake and put it through the heart.”

Chuck Todd asked Brown if his position had changed since March, when someone had asked Brown if the scandal would go away, and Brown responded, “I don’t know that. With these things, what makes a difference, you often don’t know until it unfolds because nothing is just what it is. It’s always in part of a larger context. Things unfold and things happen.”

Todd stated, “Jerry Brown, March 2015. August 15, she’s still dealing with it; you were right. What should she be doing better?”

Brown answered, “I don’t know; You know, this e-mail thing, it has kind of a mystique to it. An e-mail is kind of an utterance in digital form, but it has some kind of dark energy that gets everybody excited. So I don’t know how, it’s almost like a vampire. She’s going to have to find a stake and put it through the heart of these emails in some way. But I don’t think a leading candidate for president needs the advice of another politician; generally they don’t follow it, and I think they know everything I can figure out on their own.

Todd kept pressing the issue , asking , “As a Democrat, as somebody who, you’ve said you expect Hillary Clinton to be the nominee, do you think she needs to handle this better?

Brown, as is his wont, refused to be pinned down, replying, |’Well, the facts are out there. How do you handle it? I’m telling you, this e-mail business has a certain buzz that keeps buzzing.”

Ignoring the possible illegality of Clinton’s actions, Brown continued, “I have a hard time figuring out why is it such a big deal, but it is, and she’ll have to use her best imagination and her greatness to deal with it. So these are things that happen, it’s still very early, and I hope that she can get beyond this, because I think as a matter of fact and law and policy and ethics, these e-mails are not what the pundits are apparently thinking they are.”

Shifting to other candidates, Todd queried, “Would you like to see Vice-President Biden jump in?”

The ever non-committal Brown coyly said, “Well, again, you’re asking me for presidential advice and all I can say is if I were Hillary, I’d say, “Don’t jump in,”; if I were Joe Biden, I’d probably give it serious consideration.”

Todd brought up Bernie Sanders, asking Brown if he saw similarities between Sanders’ campaign and Brown’s own 1992 campaign for president. Brown admitted, “Well, I see the similarity in that he’s running as the critic of the status quo and given the general discontent and if you look at surveys, less than 20% have confidence in Congress and only a third thinks the country is going in the right direction. So that means there’s always an opening for the critic, for the outsider, and that’s sort of what Sanders is doing.”

Todd came full circle, asking bluntly, “Do you fully expect Hillary Clinton to be the nominee?”

Brown made sure to laud Clinton, just in case she survives: “I don’t make these expectations. I’ve been around politics long enough to know that things are uncertain. I don’t know. I think she’s a good person; she’s got a lot of experience, but the vagaries of politics are such that I think expectations are worth about that.”

Todd finally came to the point, asking, “Okay, so why wouldn’t you jump into this race?”

Brown used the opportunity to speak of his own importance, noting, “Because I’ve got a lot to do in California; we’ve got fires that are burning, we’ve got this budget still to be kept in check, and this is the seventh or eighth largest economy in the world. I find it completely absorbing and challenging, and I’ve given myself this job and I’m going to be fully engaged in it.”