SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Former President Bill Clinton and Gov. Jerry Brown were among the speakers at an annual conference in San Jose Thursday on business, the economy and politics.

The Outlook Conference, organized by the business group Bay Area Council, took place Thursday afternoon at the California Theatre on South First Street.

Other speakers included former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Anthony Earley, chairman and CEO of PG&E Corp., and San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed.

KCBS’ Betsy Gebhart Reports:

Speaking at the conference Thursday, Rice said she won’t join the upcoming presidential race as the Republican nominee for vice president.

“I know what I’m not cut out to do,” said Rice, in response to a question at the annual conference.

In a recent CNN poll, 26 percent of Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP said Mitt Romney should pick as his second-in-command Rice, who served as national security adviser and later as secretary of state under President George W. Bush.

Rick Santorum, who was Romney’s chief rival for the nomination until early last week, trailed Rice with 21 percent support.

Clinton, who was greeted with a standing ovation from the audience of about 1,000 business leaders, drew a connection between local and global concerns, saying that California and its current social and political issues are a microcosm of the country and the world.

Clinton called this era “the most interconnected in human history” and said that he believed the most important question of this century, and one that his life is centered around, is how to “turn your good intentions into real changes in other people’s lives.”

Both Clinton and Rice touched on the topic of immigration, with Clinton calling immigration and its revitalizing contributions to the country’s population and economy “our meal ticket to the future.”

One out of four people in Santa Clara County are foreign-born and many business leaders at the conference rely on high-tech employees with temporary H-1B visas.

“The United States of America cannot give way to the notion that we are not somehow a country of immigrants,” Rice said.

Brown, whose speech included a number of jokes about his age and his endorsement of a high-speed rail and renovating the aged California delta levies, ended his speech by echoing the prevailing optimism of the event.

Quoting Virgil, he said, “To the stars, through the thorns.”

Tickets to the afternoon-long event cost $750.

The Bay Area Council is a 67-year-old organization that focuses on public policy, particularly on issues related to business and the economy.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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