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The State | RECALL NOTEBOOK / THE RECALL CAMPAIGN

This Comic Candidate Could Do a Smashing Job

August 09, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

He's a comedian who has made his name on a quick wit and by hammering watermelons to a pulp onstage. But as of this week, Leo Gallagher -- whose stage name is simply Gallagher -- announced plans to take his act on the road to Sacramento.

Gallagher, 57, said he does not seriously expect to be elected governor, but wants to call attention to what he said were the state's most pressing issues. "I want to use those [expletive] helicopters to clear the freeways," Gallagher said in a phone interview. "How is our economy going to move if you can't move on the freeways?"

Also high on the wild-haired candidate's list of talking points: Require playing the national anthem in Spanish at half of the state's sporting events; force all Californians receiving workers' compensation to be reexamined; ban people from talking loudly in public on their cell phones.

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Dueling Huffingtons: If it sounded like Michael Huffington was disparaging the parenting skills of ex-wife Arianna Huffington as he pulled out of the recall election the other day, well, he took the opportunity Friday to clarify his remarks: He meant every word he said.

John King of CNN's "Inside Politics" read back to Huffington his Wednesday statement in which he said he would stay out of the race for the sake of his kids. "Forgive me," King said, "but you seem to be saying there, sir, that your ex-wife is not acting in the best interests of her children when she decides to run."

"Well, I'm going to be very frank with you," Huffington responded. "Our children didn't want either one of us to run. And frankly, they'd love their mother to reconsider and not run. The day she announced, on Wednesday, the children moved out of her house and came over to mine.

"I think, frankly, the biggest problems we have in America today are that parents are not being as responsible as they should to their children. So yes, I did make that statement."

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Shriver on leave: She won't be back, at least not for a couple of months. NBC News has granted correspondent Maria Shriver a leave of absence while her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, runs for governor. Shriver, a contributing anchor for "Dateline NBC," asked for the leave to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest for NBC News, a spokeswoman said Friday.

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