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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Simon Steps Down in California Recall Race

Aired August 25, 2003 - 19:10   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we turn to politics now. There is one less Republican in the California recall race. You all know that by now. And Arnold Schwarzenegger cannot be too pumped up over his showing in a new poll.
Dan Lothian is in Los Angeles with the details -- Dan.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, well, this has been an unusual recall campaign and as you mentioned there is one less candidate, Republican candidate, after Bill Simon dropped out of the race this weekend.

This came as a new "Los Angeles Times" poll showed Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante leading all candidates, enjoying the support of 35 percent of likely voters. Even though there had been growing pressure on some Republicans to step down and unify the GOP to take on Bustamante, Simon said his decision was based on the numbers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL SIMON, FORMER CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: This historic recall election has been about bringing profound and substantial change to our great state. And I strongly believe that the desire of Californians must come before the aspirations of any single candidate. There are too many Republicans in this race.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LOTHIAN: Two other major Republican candidates, Tom McClintock and Peter Ueberroth, say they are staying in the race. Even as Arnold Schwarzenegger, who early on and been almost dead even with Bustamante is now trailing by 13 points.

But he is getting some help from the east. Sources tell CNN he will pick up endorses from former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and New York's governor, George Pataki.

On the other side of the ticket, Democrats continue to hedge their bets, urging a no-vote on the recall and yes for Bustamante. Even Governor Gray Davis, who stopped short of endorsing his lieutenant governor, said that Bustamante's campaign will bring more people out to vote against the recall.

And speaking about that recall, after weeks of negative news for Davis it seems support for recalling him is slipping. The "L.A. Times" poll shows 50 percent of likely voters support the recall. That's down by 8 points. Back to you.

COOPER: All right. Dan Lothian, thanks very much.

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