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Brown recounts tale of "Governor Moonbeam'

Former California Gov. Jerry Brown told a group of New Hampshire retirees Monday how he got the nickname "Governor Moonbeam."

He said when he was governor, he wanted California to buy a satellite and send it into space aboard the shuttle so that 200,000 state employees could be linked by conference calls instead of having to travel the length of the state.

People laughed and called it "Brown's space program." But now, he noted, big businesses, CNN and the military bounce their communications off satellites.

So he said he doesn't mind the nickname.

"I take it as a badge of innovation, of creativity," Brown said.

Kerrey not much for medals

Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey has a Medal of Honor for bravery in Vietnam, but he said Monday he doesn't much like the system of awarding medals for heroic acts. They often stem from coincidence and have to be routed through the chain of command.

"It's got to be witnessed, which is rare," he said in a speech in Concord. "It's got to be witnessed by somebody who likes you, which is rarer. It's got to be witnessed by somebody who likes you who can write, and then it has to make its way through the system."

Kerrey, who lost a leg in a nighttime firefight in 1969, talks often about his war experience but has rarely mentioned the medal in his campaign speeches. He concluded Monday by saying, "It's an old system that I want to end."

Memo angers Kerrey

Kerrey said Sunday he felt angry and betrayed by his own pollster who acknowledged that he had anonymously circulated a memo critical of rival Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton.

The Boston Globe reported Sunday that Harrison Hickman had acknowledged being the source of a memo faxed anonymously to the newspaper. The memo alleged inconsistencies in the Arkansas governor's account of how he obtained and then gave up a draft deferment in 1969.

Kerrey was asked at a midafternoon press conference if Hickman was continuing to work for his campaign, and said, "At the moment, he's not." An aide said later that Hickman was "on probation."

"I'm not only angry in a personal way, but I feel that he betrayed me in this campaign," the Nebraska senator told reporters. At one point he referred to the pollster as "Harrison Hitman."

Hours later, Kerrey press secretary Steve Jarding said Kerrey had not meant to suggest that he had fired Hickman. He said Kerrey had "put Harrison on probation."

Jarding said Kerrey misunderstood a question at the news conference. Believing he was being asked if Hickman were taking a poll on Sunday afternoon, Kerrey answered, "At the moment, he's not," meaning not taking a poll on Sunday, according to Jarding.

Kerrey said Hickman's decision to distribute the memo violated his orders for campaign aides to steer clear of criticizing Clinton's draft-deferment explanation, although Kerrey himself has questioned Clinton's account.

Cuomo regrets not running

New York Gov. Mario Cuomo expressed regret Sunday that he is not running for the Democratic presidential nomination on the campaign trail in the New Hampshire primary.

It was the latest twist in Cuomo's flirtation with the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. He ruled himself out as a candidate on Dec. 20 but since then has been unable to detach himself from the campaign.

Cuomo maintains that New York's budget problems are the reason he announced on Dec. 20 that he would not be a candidate.

"If I had a budget, I would be in New Hampshire right now," Cuomo said. "If I had a budget, I would be campaigning on the stump right now. I would be there from early morning to late at night if I had a budget."

Cuomo said his first priority is still to negotiate a budget by the state's April 1 deadline, a feat not accomplished in New York since 1984.

As to whether he'd join the presidential race late if New York reached a budget deal, Cuomo dismissed the question as speculation.