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Gavin Newsom looks at the bright side of getting no respect

March 08, 2014|By Michael Finnegan
  • Gavin Newsom addresses a mostly empty room at the state Democratic convention late Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles.
Gavin Newsom addresses a mostly empty room at the state Democratic convention… (Michael Finnegan / Los Angeles…)

After more than three years as lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom is painfully familiar with the small indignities of a job with few responsibilities of consequence.

So it came as little surprise that he was relegated to the last – and least desired – speaking slot at the state Democratic convention late Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles.

“Thank you for coming – it’s good to see all four of you,” Newsom called out to stragglers scattered among the rows of empty chairs in the cavernous hall at the L.A. Convention Center.

“It’s pretty self-evident to all of you that I’m getting to finally live out a lifelong dream of achieving a profound and highly sought-after honor to be the last speaker of the day,” Newsom quipped.

He offered a few one-liners as potential explanations for the latest slight to be visited upon him.

Perhaps Gov. Jerry Brown chose the speaking order, he suggested. It was not an entirely far-fetched idea, given Newsom’s attacks on Brown during his abandoned run against him in the 2010 gubernatorial primary.

“I could have said Anne Gust,” Newsom continued, cracking a joke about the governor’s wife and senior advisor. “More subtle.”

Or maybe after so many speakers in “positions of power,” Newsom said, party leaders wanted to wrap up the show with someone who didn’t have much. (He didn’t mention that a top potential Democratic rival for governor in 2018, state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, was among those blessed with a prime morning spot speaking to a full house.)

But the real reason, Newsom told his sparse audience, must be this: “The party makes a lot of money if people leave early and head to the bar.”

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