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Bill Clinton upstages Jerry Brown in California governor's race

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Chris Carlson/AP

(Read caption) Former President Bill Clinton applauds as California Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown speaks during a campaign event at UCLA in Los Angeles Friday, Oct. 15. Lieutenant governor candidate Gavin Newsom looks on.

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In California Friday night, two lifelong politicians with Olympic-size egos and a decades-long rivalry featuring really nasty exchanges occupied the same stage at the same time without killing each other.

For a while, in fact, it actually looked like they got along (though it may have been through gritted teeth).

Such is the necessity of campaigning when intraparty bygones really do have to be bygones if one is to win in closely-contested races.

We’re talking about Democrats, of course, in this case Bill Clinton and Jerry Brown.

The former president was at UCLA stumping for the once and (perhaps) future governor of the Golden State. Clinton said nice things about Brown.

Brown reciprocated, but he has a problem.

Back in 1992, Brown and Clinton fought it out for the Democratic presidential nomination. They slammed each other’s positions and records, sometimes falsely – Clinton suggesting that Brown had raised taxes during his first stint as governor, Brown alleging that Clinton (as governor of Arkansas) had directed state contracts to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s law firm in Little Rock. And of course it’s all on tape.

Meg Whitman – the billionaire former eBay executive and Republican candidate for governor – is having fun with all of this.

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