Jacques said, later, with a laugh, "That remark came from contempt."
APRIL 7. ELECTION DAY, AND Jerry Brown's 54th birthday. At 9 p.m., 500 volunteers are waiting in the auditorium of the Drug, Hospital & Health Care Employees Union, Local 1199, which endorsed Brown.
Jerry is on the seventh floor, watching returns in the office of Dennis Rivera, the union president. The networks are calling Clinton the winner and Brown second in all four states: New York, Wisconsin, Kansas and Minnesota. Outside Rivera's office, Jerry's family and friends sit in somber groups, whispering. The Dunnes are there, as are two of Jerry's sisters. Pat Caddell is scowling. "I hate politics. I hate election nights. I hate 'em when they're good."
Jerry walks out. "So, here we are," he says. Joan Didion extends both her arms to him. He takes her hands, squeezes them, turns to another friend. "Lot of people downstairs?"
"Good." He punches his fist in the air. "Now I gotta get ready to say something."
A tall, dark-haired man wearing a yarmulke, Dan Greer, steps out of the elevator and hurries to Jerry. They hug. "Thanks for coming," Jerry says. Then he goes back into Rivera's office and shuts the door.
Greer was Jerry's roommate at Yale Law School. He has taken the train down from New Haven, where he practices law and leads a small congregation. "I feel very badly," Greer says. "He could have won. This could have been a home run. Then all the concerns about Gov. Moonbeam would have vanished."
Greer thinks the loss is due to Jerry's endorsement of Jackson. "I told Jerry, by embracing him, you're leaving people out, people who are frightened and in pain."
Greer shakes his head sadly. "There's a saying in the Talmud: A person can acquire the world in one moment, and can lose the world in one moment."
Jerry comes out of Rivera's office and heads for the elevator. Five minutes later, he's on the stage, telling his volunteers to take heart and keep going. He is, as a friend puts it, "attractive in defeat," and for the first time, I feel close to him.
He congratulates Clinton and Paul E. Tsongas, who, in the latest tallies, is pulling ahead of Brown, even though he has withdrawn from the race.
"Paul, wherever you are, you do very well, even in your absence," Jerry says.
The crowd boos.
"Wait a minute. This is not a time for mean spirits. This is a time for generosity." Jerry says real change doesn't happen quickly, "and if you stumble, you stand up."
Hours later, the New York staff gathers for drinks at the Royalton Hotel. Late results confirm that Brown has placed third, behind Tsongas. Dennis Rivera, a spirited man with laughing eyes, says, "Our exit polls this morning were bad, but this is worse." He signals the waitress. "I'm gonna drown my depression in alcohol."
Kevin Connor, the field director, says, "I'm pissed. We could have won. We got off the message." Others feel that Jerry's attacks on Clinton were too shrill, and his proposal for a flat tax too easy to attack and difficult to explain. Don Lesser, wearing a bright red jacket, says, "This is an experiment. No one's run a campaign before on a hundred bucks a person. The other candidates have all dropped out and we're still here. That's the bottom line."
Rivera stands up, glass in hand. "We have news! Clinton has withdrawn from the race. He's completely terrified of the group assembled here."
"I want to tell you how much I enjoyed working with you," Rivera says. "If I have any other campaign I want to lose badly, I will call all of you."
The impact of the loss hits Jerry a day later. Jodie says, "When things go badly, he rises to the occasion and pumps everyone else up. Then later, he feels it."
Between Connecticut and New York, Jerry and his staff had been dazzled by the spotlight. As Jerry put it, "We got too excited." What was not understood was that as long as he was a dark horse, a vote for Brown was a vote against all the others. It was a statement: They're rotten, throw them out. But when he became a front-runner, people voted against him also, even for a candidate who was inactive. The fall was like a belly flop.
APRIL 9. JODIE IS HOLDING A STAFF meeting at national headquarters in Santa Monica, sitting on a green velvet settee nicknamed "the Queen's chair," with her natural red hair falling over her shoulders. She wears a black dress with roses, black tights and ballet slippers.
As is her style, Jodie finds a way to see events in a positive light. "You guys," she says. "This campaign is going all the way to the convention and beyond! New Jersey looks good. Oregon is champing at the bit."
One staffer says, "I'm confused about our goal. Are we going for the White House, hell for leather, or are we building a movement to change America?"
Both, Jodie says. Jerry will continue to campaign hard, and "the more delegates we pick up, the stronger we'll be at the convention."