NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Bill Clinton and Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr. joined the Rev. Jesse Jackson at a Pentecostal church Sunday and then marched together one mile through a heavy snowstorm to protest deadly gang violence.
The two Democratic presidential candidates and Jackson, surrounded by scores of children and hundreds of citizens, plus Secret Service agents, television crews and a horde of reporters, walked in the slippery snow at dusk through a black residential neighborhood to demonstrate against six youth killings here in the last month.
One large sign--among many reading "Save our children," "Fight AIDS" and "We the people"--proclaimed cynically: "Don't pimp for votes."
Clinton, the governor of Arkansas, and Brown, the former governor of California, clearly anticipated that their appearance with Jackson would give them more credibility among blacks in Tuesday's Connecticut primary. They also hoped some of his popularity among blacks would rub off in contests two weeks later in New York and Wisconsin.
In 1988, Jackson finished second in these three primaries behind the eventual nominee, Michael S. Dukakis. This year, Clinton has won substantial black support, and Brown has pledged to make Jackson his running mate. Jackson has neither accepted nor rejected the offer.
Inside the church, the roughly 500-member congregation greeted Jackson with the familiar chant of his two presidential campaigns: "Run, Jesse, run."
Jackson, who is sitting out the race this year, spoke to his followers from the pulpit, offering an admonition to Clinton and Brown that each undoubtedly found to be helpful, at least in part.
"I urge those of you who would lead our nation to keep the debate alive," Jackson said, surely pleasing Brown, who accused the Democratic "hierarchy" of "Politburo" tactics for pressuring him to step aside for Clinton, the front-runner and expected party nominee.
But Jackson added, in words that probably made Clinton happy, that the debate should be staged "on the high road, for we have the need for the debate but not for obstruction. . . . We need from them debate and options . . . (not) attack and counterattack."
Clinton later picked up on that theme, telling the congregation: "We have to shed the cheap politics of division. . . . This country has been divided by race for too long."
Brown, pointing out that he had studied in a seminary for three years, played the role of preacher as much as politician. "The Word is what's going to save us," he said. " . . . What we do to them we do to Him."
But earlier, at a black church in Harlem, where Brown appeared without Jackson or Clinton, he again accused Clinton of--at best--racial insensitivity for playing golf at a whites-only country club where, as governor, he long has held an honorary membership. Brown also reiterated his denunciation of Clinton for campaigning in front of black prisoners just before the Georgia primary.
Clinton has apologized for using the country club, but he has defended the prison visit by saying he was promoting an innovative, highly disciplined "boot camp" program.
Addressing the congregation, Brown said: "George Bush, he wouldn't even dare to play golf at a white golf club. Think about it! . . . The idea of going and playing golf in the middle of a presidential campaign at an Arkansas golf club that has no black members is incredible. Only an arrogance and complacency and smugness can explain that kind of political maneuver.
"When you add that to the fact that Arkansas and Alabama are the only states with no civil rights law, the plot thickens. . . . And I question whether in the history of presidential politics anybody has ever stood in front of 40 black prisoners as though to say, 'We have them under control, folks.' "
Later, to reporters, Brown found himself defending against Clinton's charge in a Saturday debate that his law firm had billed California taxpayers $178,000 for beating back a new statute that had limited political contributions. Brown was state Democratic chairman during the lawsuit against Proposition 73, which imposed a $1,000 limit on individual contributions to state candidates. The proposition, passed by voters in 1988, was ruled unconstitutional.
Brown characterized the initiative as a sham and said no other firm would touch the case because the potential fees were not great. The fees, awarded by a court in response to the firm's billing, are under appeal and have not been paid, he said. Anyway, Brown added, he was not a partner in the firm, Fulbright and Jaworski, only "of counsel," which is a looser affiliation, and he isn't even that now.
Earlier in the day, during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Clinton defended his use of corporate jets for official state business.
The Washington Post, in Sunday's editions, reported that Clinton has made frequent use of a jet owned by Tyson's Foods, a chicken processor that has been cited for polluting a waterway in northwest Arkansas.
Clinton said the trips were appropriate and were fully disclosed under the provisions of a state law that he pushed through the Legislature. The law requires state officials to list all gifts they receive from private corporations.
"I don't think there is a conflict there as long as the people know it," Clinton said. "In terms of our record . . . it was our state that required Tyson's Food and the city of Eureka Springs . . . to spend millions of dollars up there trying to clean up that problem, and we are making good headway on it."
"As soon as we had clear evidence of what was going on, we began to move to try to fix it, and I think we're doing our best to clean it up."