Skip To Content
The Schmooze

Candidate Talks Nazis with Reporter and Promptly Regrets It

It’s hard to have sympathy for a seasoned politician who says something obviously inappropriate to a reporter. Really hard. Particularly when he compares his opponent to Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels.

Jerry Brown, the 72-year-old California State Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, was stopped while jogging several days ago by radio reporter Doug Sovern.

When the conversation drifted over to Republican opponent Meg Whitman’s deep pockets, Brown worried out loud – to a reporter – about the potential for a costly but effective smear campaign:

“It’s like Goebbels,” Brown said. “Goebbels invented this kind of propaganda. He took control of the whole world.”

The Whitman campaign quickly released a statement castigating Brown. And the ADL followed suit, saying “the use of Nazi references to underscore a political point is inappropriate and offensive under any circumstance.”

Then – as these things go, oh-so-predictably – Brown publicly apologized today and promised he’d learned a lesson – though perhaps not the one intended.

“I’ll tell you this,” he said. “Jogging in the hills with sweaty strangers will no longer result in conversations.”

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.