LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Interview With Doug Hattaway
Aired August 13, 2003 - 20:28 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The big names are choosing sides in the California recall race. Warren Buffett agreed to be Arnold Schwarzenegger's senior financial and economic adviser. But, get this, during the past week Bill Clinton has turned into one of Governor Gray Davis' main strategic advisers.
In Boston, the political strategist Doug Hattaway, he's president of Hattaway Communications and a former spokesman for the Al Gore campaign. Doug thanks very much for joining us. What do you suspect Bill Clinton is telling Gray Davis?
DOUG HATTAWAY, FORMER GORE CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: Well, I think he's telling him based on some of the experience he's had via attempted hostile takeover to stay focused on the job.
Davis was elected by eight million Californians. If he can stay about the fray as much as possible in a situation like this and really focus on doing the job that served Clinton well during the impeachment.
It is a very different situation, of course. Clinton was presiding over a lot of economic prosperity and California really is in a mess. That said I think Clinton's advice to him was to try to stay focused on the job and to run against the recall not run against Arnold Schwarzenegger or any of these other people who have come out of the woodwork. If you keep in mind the Democrat strategy is to beat the recall, to get more people to vote no on the recall and Clinton could be a good messenger for that.
BLITZER: If you assume almost all of the Republicans are going to vote, who will vote in favor of the recall what they have to do, Gray Davis, is get Democrats to be mobilized and show up. That's, I take it, where Bill Clinton and presumably Senator Clinton might help.
HATTAWAY: I think so. I mean California is a Democratic state. The voters who will decide the recall are essentially going to be Democrats and the Clintons both are good messengers to that crowd.
They can help deliver the message that Davis is the person to lead the state out of the mess that they're in right now and that this recall is costly. It's chaotic and it's not a real solution. I think voters, a lot of voters in California would listen to that.
Gray Davis needs some strong defenders. I think one of the challenges he's had is he hasn't had a lot of real strong defenders on his side and the Clintons are very formidable ones. BLITZER: As you well remember, Al Gore decided not use Bill Clinton that much when he was seeking the White House. He saw a downside in using the then-president. Is there a downside for Gray Davis?
HATTAWAY: I don't really see any. I think it's all up sides for Davis at this stage of the game. This is a very different situation from 2000 and a national election when we had a vice president who really needed to define himself, which all vice presidents have to do when they run for the top job. In this case, we've got a Democratic state. Bill Clinton is very popular there. I don't see any downsides for Davis. The Davis haters and the Clinton haters are not going to change their mind either way. Clinton can be a very good messenger to remind people that this recall is not a solution to their problems.
BLITZER: Arnold Schwarzenegger got a huge boost today with Warren Buffett, a billionaire, one of the most admired economic investors not only in the United States, but in the world, coming aboard his team. This will give some gravitas, add some credibility to that campaign.
HATTAWAY: That's absolutely right. I think Buffett brings serious star power to Schwarzenegger's team, which is something he needed. I mean, Schwarzenegger has star power, but it's not exactly serious star power. And it's pretty smart for him to put together an economic team, because that's what needs to be addressed in California. It sorts of shores up or points out the fact that Schwarzenegger himself would need a lot of help if this were actually going to happen. And Buffett really brings some credibility to that. No doubt about it.
BLITZER: Doug Hattaway, thanks very much for joining us.
HATTAWAY: Good to see you, Wolf.
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