Hey, here’s a pair: Newt Gingrich and Jerry Brown. The GOP presidential contender paid a visit to Brown earlier this year in Oakland and the two had quite a chat, according to the Skinny’s impeccable sources, who have only been wrong 16 times in four years. Apparently, the two enjoyed each other’s company – no surprise there, since both are smart and ruthless with politics embedded in their DNA, and both know how to put on their dancing shoes. They discussed the political landscape, which included a look at Gingrich’s then-nascent campaign and Brown’s own gubernatorial rebirth. We would have liked to be a fly on the wall on this one. … The quietude of the Capitol is deceiving. True, there are no floor sessions, the corridors seem deserted and the hearing schedule is pared back, but political plotting continues apace. One scenario is Anthony Portantino’s potential run against Carol Liu for a new state Senate seat. It’s been the buzz for weeks in the district and a Nov. 11 story in the Star-News went into it in some detail. Nothing confirmed as yet, but if the contest actually happens, it may wind up as a showdown between horseracing and casino interests. Even in the roiling 2012 political landscape, which has lots of interesting races, this will be one to watch… 

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