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Campaign Goes Into High Gear

The week was marked by the first debate. Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante got a big donation from an Indian tribe, Arnold Schwarzenegger campaigned, and Gov. Gray Davis again acknowledged mistakes.

September 07, 2003


* Candidates appeared at Labor Day events throughout the state.

Gov. Gray Davis offered contrite words and Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante took an aggressive stance toward his Republican rivals. Although the two men crossed paths, they rather conspicuously did not appear together -- underlining the continuing tension between their overlapping campaigns. "I know many Californians are angry," Davis said. "And trust me, this recall is a humbling experience. I would not wish it on my worst enemy. But if the good people of this state decide that they will allow me to finish the term to which they elected me, I promise you I will do some things differently." Bustamante told a union rally that voters should oppose the recall but vote for him as a Democratic fallback in case Davis loses. "We'll beat 'em on both sides," he said. "And we should make sure that we have a strategy that, no matter which way this goes, that we're going to win. We will not capitulate on that second question," he added, referring to the part of the recall ballot on which voters get to choose a replacement for Davis in case he loses the recall.

* Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared at the state fair in Sacramento, where he worked at a voter registration table and blamed Davis for the state's loss of jobs. Schwarzenegger lamented that nearly 22,000 Californians were laid off in July. He cited high taxes, overregulation and the costly workers' compensation system as among the state's economic woes, and accused Davis of being "in the pockets" of special interests. "These people didn't just lose their jobs," Schwarzenegger said. "These people witnessed firsthand the American dream slipping away from them."

* Peter V. Ueberroth held a news conference to criticize Schwarzenegger for turning down a debate scheduled for Wednesday. The actor and his aides said they would participate in only one debate, sponsored by the California Broadcasters Assn. for later this month. State Sen. Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks), on MSNBC's "Hardball," said he didn't believe he was a spoiler who would drain votes from Schwarzenegger.


* A California Indian tribe announced its intention to pump $2 million into Bustamante's campaign. The statement followed more than $800,000 in gifts last week from two other tribes. The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, which has major gambling interests in San Diego County, planned to give $21,200 -- the maximum that Proposition 34 allows to be donated directly to a candidate -- to Bustamante's campaign for governor. But $1.5 million of its gift would go to a committee he formed to support his campaign for reelection last year to the lieutenant governorship. Bustamante's campaign officials said he would spend the $1.5 million on his run for the governor's office.

* Schwarzenegger sat for interviews with half a dozen radio and TV programs. In one interview, Schwarzenegger said he had made up some of the statements in his 1977 interview with a men's magazine about engaging in group sex and taking drugs. "I made statements that were crazy, statements that -- a lot of them were not true and just exaggerated situations," he told NBC's Channel 4. "I knew they would get headlines. We were promoting bodybuilding, we were promoting 'Pumping Iron' " -- a 1976 documentary on body-building. That explanation differed somewhat from Schwarzenegger's earlier statements about the interview in Oui magazine. When the article resurfaced two weeks ago, Schwarzenegger said he had been outrageous in his youth and called the statements ludicrous but did not say they were untrue. The next day, at a campaign event in Fresno, Schwarzenegger said: "I have no idea what you're talking about. I'm here to push my economic agenda."

* The U.S. Justice Department approved the California secretary of state's request to include Propositions 53 and 54 on the recall ballot, clearing one more legal obstacle to the election. Proposition 53 would require that as much as 3% of the state budget be spent on public works projects. Proposition 54 would prevent public agencies from collecting and using many kinds of racial data. Also, the department indicated in a letter to Kings County that it had no objections to changes in that county's election plan for Oct. 7.

* In two new political ads, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) denounced the recall campaign as a danger to the state's well-being and urged Californians to vote against it. Although Feinstein's ad criticized the recall campaign as unfair to the current governor, no images of Gray Davis were shown and he was never mentioned by name. He was simply "the governor."


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