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Picking Winners and Losers in Recall Debate

September 26, 2003

Well, Wednesday night's California Broadcasters Assn. debate is over and all the major candidates have had their say. As a working father and public safety employee, here is my humble opinion on this debacle.

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Did not have a clue what this was about prior to the debate and still does not have a clue. Tom McClintock and Peter Camejo: Both men of conviction and honor, but too radical for this state. Arianna Huffington: Wants to blame Dubya for everything. Cruz Bustamante: I was hoping for something here, but saw nothing.

The final tally: We elected Gov. Gray Davis -- good, bad or ugly. Like him or not, he is entitled to the rest of his term.

Mark Whichard

Monrovia

*

The debate may not have had any clear-cut winners, but there was definitely a loser: Davis. Each of the candidates touched on what ails California -- immigration, taxation, the leadership vacuum, the economy, health care -- all of which Davis has been asleep at the switch on for the past five-plus years. A "yes" vote on the recall is a must if we're to begin turning this state around.

Francis Milner

Whittier

*

Among the candidates:

Smartest: Huffington. Most passionate: Camejo. Best politician: McClintock. Most belligerent: Schwarzenegger. Best violin player: Bustamante.

Mark Papas

Los Angeles

*

Finally! Someone in the public eye addresses the difference between tolerance and acceptance. I hope it was understood. Thank you, Mr. Bustamante.

Reiss DuPlessis

Laguna Woods

*

I thought they were going to give Arnold the questions in advance. What happened?

Stephen M. Hogg

Simi Valley

*

Thanks to Stephen Sondheim: "But where are the clowns? Send in the clowns. Don't bother ... they're here." After watching the debate, I could never have said it as well.

Ellen Wiest

Marina del Rey

*

The Times' editorial regarding the debate (Sept. 25) was far too kind. That event was an unwatchable travesty of electoral discourse. The constant bickering and sniping were too much to take, and that outmatched moderator should head back into retirement as soon as possible. And lest the true meaning of Schwarzenegger's rejoinder to Huffington that he has "a part for her in 'Terminator 4' " be lost on any who viewed this farce, he was clearly referring to a scene in "Terminator 3" in which he shoves a female cyborg's head into a toilet. Very 21st century, Arnold.

Ask yourselves, which of those five sixth-graders would you like to see as your next governor?

Jim Mallon

San Luis Obispo

*

I was impressed with Arnold's professionalism during the debate. He seemed to have a concrete grasp of the problems that are worrying Californians. Huffington seemed to want to attack and attack. He responded like a true gentleman and used humor to defuse her attacks.

Mary Isbell

Desert Hot Springs

*

I thought Schwarzenegger's tactics during the debate were cowardly. The man who did not have the courage to come out and speak in an open debate arrived at the one event that might have allowed him to manage to look good with an arsenal of heavily scripted put-downs. If that did not stun the other candidates (or the listeners) sufficiently, he had a simple backup tactic -- drown his opponents out so their statements could not be heard.

I do not trust a man who says he wants "to give something back" and is not even willing to enter into a free discussion in front of the electorate. Spare us, please, from having to accept what he wants to hand us.

Barbara Jarvik

Los Angeles

*

After the live debate, I have decided to vote for McClintock. He is the only one who represents the conservative point of view adequately. Several have encouraged me to vote for Schwarzenegger, reminding me that he is the only candidate who can beat Bustamante. After listening to the candidates, I realized that I have to vote my convictions.

Alisa Goff

Agoura Hill

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