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THE STATE | THE RECALL CAMPAIGN

In the Recall Candidates' Words

Many exchanges are lively. Among the more contentious issues are how to balance the budget and what to do about health care for the children of illegal immigrants.

September 25, 2003

The Budget

Some of the liveliest exchanges during Wednesday's recall debate occurred in response to a question about balancing the state budget. McClintock began by proposing spending cuts:

Tom McClintock: This state is already spending a larger portion of people's earnings than at any time in its history ....

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Peter Camejo: Tom wants to cut, cut, cut. I want to put more money into education.... All they want to do is cut, cut, and rip, rip, over here to my right.... They were cutting the taxes on the wealthiest people while they raised your taxes. I want to reverse that.

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Arianna Huffington: The first thing I would do is close corporate tax loopholes.... What I find amazing is that Republicans really do not believe that morality applies to businesses. You know, it should be absolutely unacceptable that companies defraud the California public and then the state continues to do business with them. Is that the kind of business climate you'd like to bring to the state? The same kind of business climate that brought us Enron and Global Crossing and Adelphia and has cost millions of jobs ... ? And one more thing, Arnold ....

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Arnold Schwarzenegger: Arnold? I like that. I'll tell you one thing. You personally, personal income tax, have the biggest loophole. I can drive my Hummer through it.

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Huffington: You know perfectly well I paid $150,000 in property taxes and payroll taxes. And you know what? I'm a writer, and these two years was writing and researching a book, and I wasn't making $20-million violent movies, I'm sorry.

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Cruz Bustamante: Clearly, we spent too much. As a government, we spent more than was coming in. There's no rocket science to this. We clearly knew that there were certain incomes that were coming in, and we spent more than we had.... We've done all the easy things, and now it's time to do the tough things. I have a plan, a plan that I call tough love for California....

"We do something in terms of raising taxes. She [Huffington] called it raising revenues. We know what it really is. But at the same time, we get something good for Californians.

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Huffington: There's tough love for everybody except for Indian gaming tribes and prison guard unions. And that's really the problem with our system. Tough love for everybody except your big campaign contributors.

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Schwarzenegger: The politicians make a mistake. They keep spending and spending and spending....

What you have to do is put a spending cap on it. You guys have an addiction problem. You should go to an addiction place ...

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Huffington: Your analysis fits perfectly the Bush administration in Washington ...

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Schwarzenegger: If you want to campaign against Bush, go to New Hampshire. It's the proper place for you. You're in the wrong state right now ...

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Huffington: The people of California need somebody who is going to fight the Bush administration for them.... There's a huge connection between our budgetary problems here and the decisions made in Washington.... It's completely hypocritical of Arnold ...

(Schwarzenegger starts to interrupt.)

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Huffington: Let me finish. Let me finish. This is completely impolite, the way you treat women. We know that ...

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Schwarzenegger: I would just like to say that I just realized that I have a perfect part for you in "Terminator 4."

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Illegal Immigrants

Another contentious issue was health care for the children of illegal immigrants.

Schwarzenegger: First of all, I think it is important that we take care of our children. And we have to make sure that every child in California is insured; that is the most important thing. I'm very passionate about children's issues. I think we have to take care of our children and we have to take care of our seniors. This is very important because they cannot fend for themselves. Children -- we have a Healthy Family program here in California and it is a very, very good program. It's supposed to insure people to get health care for children and also for their parents if they are low-income people. The only problem with the program right now is that two-thirds of the people that are eligible are not having that health care ...

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Bustamante: On that we do agree.

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Huffington: I am very glad that Arnold is in favor of providing health care for the children of illegal immigrants. That's really good news, because after all you did vote for [Proposition] 187. And also I'm really glad that you said that because you've also come out against licenses for undocumented immigrants. So there is a bit of a contradiction here. In fact, I was really saddened that you as an immigrant would come out against giving that basic right to immigrants here who are trying to drive, to go to work, to take their kids to school. You know, it's all very well to say you are for children, you want them to be insured. But if their parents cannot legally drive them to work in a way that they are insured and they are safe, isn't that a bit of a contradiction?

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