Vice President Mondale yesterday gave Californians a glimpse of the hard-hitting personal campaign the Carter administration is expected to run against Ronald Reagan this fall.
At a breakfast with reporters in Los Angeles, Mondale brought in former California Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown, whom Reagan defeated in the 1966 gubernatorial race, as the latest endorser of President Carter. Brown had no words of criticism for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who Carter faces in the June 3 California primary, but he made it clear he would say plenty about Reagan.
"I intend to tell the people of this country about the lies Ronald Reagan has been telling," Brown said.
The chief "lie" Brown cited was Reagan's oft-repeated statement that he inherited a "bankrupt" state government. Brown cited California's high bond rating as an example of the untruth of this remark. Reagan, however, is talking about a deficit he inherited in the state's operating fund, which was about $200 million when he became governor.
However influential Brown may be with voters, he acknowledged that he hadn't had much in his own family. Brown said his wife Bernice was voting for their son, Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr., who has withdrawn from the race but is still on the ballot. The senior Brown won't say who his son is supporting.
Mondale continued to brush aside Kennedy's proposal for a Carter-Kennedy debate before the June 3 primaries. Kennedy said Thursday he would withdraw if Carter debated and then won the popular vote in these primaries.
But Mondale said he "meant no offense" to Kennedy when he described him as a "loser" or said the offer to debate was "ridiculous."