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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS

Election Day Has Come in the California Recall; Voters Turnout in Huge Numbers

Aired October 7, 2003 - 15:00   ET

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ANNOUNCER: Judgment day in California. Can Gray Davis pull off a come from behind victory?

GOV. GRAY DAVIS (D), CALIFORNIA: But I think voters are rethinking their choice and that's why you see the race closing.

ANNOUNCER: A confident Arnold Schwarzenegger casts his ballot. Are we looking at the Golden State's next governor?

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIF. GOV. CANDIDATE: We don't know. It's up to the god now.

ANNOUNCER: Voter turnout. It's the key to winning the election. We'll take a look at what Democrats and Republicans are doing to get their voters to the polls.

The recall's all over after tonight. Or is it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There will be a substantial number of ballots a that have to be processed the day after the election and for a week or two afterwards. And if the race is extremely close, it could take a couple of weeks.

ANNOUNCER: Now, live from Los Angeles, a special edition of JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us. Well out here in California, they know a good story line and colorful characters will pull people in. And by most accounts that we're getting, voters are turning out in unusually high numbers to decide how this recall drama ends.

In today's landmark vote, Democrat Gray Davis will either become the first California governor to be recalled or his party's new comeback kid. As the front runner to replace Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger could seal his place as the GOP's biggest new star or voters may send him back to Hollywood.

Our reporters are in place with the candidates and at the polling places as we cover all the recall angles in the next 90 minutes. Let's go first to CNN's Kelly Wallace with the Schwarzenegger camp. Kelly, you've been covering this campaign for days now. What are they saying as we move into the final hours?

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, aides to Arnold Schwarzenegger feeling quite good. They like what they saw in their overnight internal polling. They continue to believe the momentum is with Arnold Schwarzenegger, even as allegations of sexual misconduct have been dominating the headlines over the past few days.

It was interesting. It was a more spiritual, it seems, Arnold Schwarzenegger at the polls than we've seen over the past several weeks. He was with wife, Maria Shriver, as they went to vote at a home in the Pacific Palisades area. There, Schwarzenegger told reporters it's now up to God. The decision is in God's hands.

He was also asked, though, what it felt like to see his name on a ballot for the very first time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHWARZENEGGER: I feel good. I now spend some time with my family, and then I'm going around and thanking people, saying -- thanking my volunteers, all the people that worked so hard on this campaign.

QUESTION: Did you have trouble finding your name on the ballot or was it easy?

SCHWARZENEGGER: No, I just went through the pages. You know, instead of going through two pages, you go through ten pages. And I always look for the longest name. So I mean it's easy to find. My name is easy to find.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: It has been an unconventional campaign from the start. Arnold Schwarzenegger announcing his candidacy on "The Tonight Show." His campaign attracting international, national and local reporters, as well as entertainment reporters. Shows like "Access Hollywood" and "Entertainment Tonight" following this candidate and his wife, Maria Shriver, over the past several weeks.

Ultimately, it certainly comes down to voter turnout. We are told by Schwarzenegger's aides he was going to spend the day, have private lunch with friends. Maria Shriver's family is in town, including mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver. And then of course he will be watching to see if his dream is going to become a reality, if this actor turned candidate will become governor of California -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Unconventional is right, Kelly. We've never seen anything like it. All right, we'll be talking to you in the hours ahead. Thanks a lot, Kelly Wallace.

Well heading into today's vote, Governor Gray Davis told me that he thinks the race is razor close. CNN's Charles Feldman is covering the Davis campaign. Charles, what are they saying?

CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Judy, I have a feeling this is going to be a day of nothing but spin from both sides because you're absolutely right.

Not surprisingly, when I talked to the people associated with Governor Davis, they say the exact opposite from what Schwarzenegger's people are telling Kelly Wallace. They're saying that their overnight polls, their latest internal polls, show that this is a razor thin contest that the issue of the recall is so close that this could end up being a cliffhanger.

The governor himself, just moments ago, showed up at a voting place in West Hollywood to cast his vote. And he told waiting reporters, he is hoping for a heavy turnout.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVIS: I feel absolutely terrific. I have always trusted the voters of California. I know that's right going to do the right thing today.

This is a big day for California. It's particularly a big day for working families. And I ask everyone to make an effort to go out and vote. There's not as many polling places as there usually are, but make the effort to find your polling place. Participate in this democracy. However you vote, vote today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FELDMAN: Now, Judy, you were talking earlier about a good story line and a cast of characters. Get this. At the polling place right outside where Gray Davis just cast his ballot, moments before, first you had Larry Flynt, who's the publisher of "Hustler" magazine who showed up to cast his vote. And of course, he's also a candidate, one of 135 people running for governor in the event that the recall of Governor Davis goes through. And civil rights leader Jesse Jackson showed up outside the polling area to get voters going in to vote no on the recall.

So quite a cast of characters there. As I said before, Judy, I think that before this night is over, there's going to be a lot of spin and we may not have an answer for quite some time -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well you may be right and we're going to try to be ready if that's the case. OK, Charles Feldman, thanks very much.

Well one long-time poll supervisor in Hollywood says that she's never been as busy as she's been today. Meanwhile, field poll officials are estimating the turnout is going to be a remarkable 30 percent higher today than it was in the 2002 election just 11 months ago when Gray Davis was reelected.

Bob Franken is at a polling place in Burbank. Bob, what is the polling traffic looking like there?

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as a matter of fact, it absolutely reflects that prediction. It's been heavier than normal. It's been orderly. No problems. What's been interesting is the fact that this, of course, is one of the counties, Los Angeles County, that uses the now infamous punch card ballot. We have one of their sample machines. They allow you to practice before you get into it.

What you do is you submit your ballot into the slot like this. Then you open, and you find your candidate. With this sample, you can choose from the likes of Cecil B. DeMille, Frank Lloyd Wright. You've got John Autobahn presumably for those who think the election is for the birds.

Then you punch it like I just did. And then you pull it out. And what you want to do is look at the back, the hole shows up. And they're very proud to point out that there is no hanging chad.

So that's how it's supposed to be done. I should point out by the way that there is a registrar sitting just off camera to make sure that we don't abscond with this. They're taking this seriously, reflecting the diversity of Los Angeles County and the state of California. The sign that brings you to the polling place is in seven languages, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, which is of course the Philippine language -- and Vietnamese. Oh did I forget English?

And there's another sign if you walk over here. It is a notice, a very stern one, "No electioneering. You are within 100 feet of a polling place. No person on election day shall with 100 feet of a polling place (UNINTELLIGIBLE) solicit a vote or speak to voters on the subject of marking their ballot."

That could very well include us, Judy. So I want to make sure that I don't want to get in trouble because on the bottom it says, "If you do so, you're guilty of a misdemeanor."

The fact of the matter is this has gone very smoothly and election officials are just hoping the count tonight goes smoothly. This is something that has never happened before in California or anywhere -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well we can't afford to get you arrested, Bob, so please obey the law, whatever you do. Bob Franken, thanks very much. Mr. Recall here at CNN.

Well the voters who have not yet shown up at the polls are getting plenty of prodding. Republicans are expected to make about two million phone calls as part of their get out the vote efforts while Democrats are saying they've got more than 10,000 volunteers going door to door backed up by allies in the labor movement.

We're joined now by Art Pulaski of the California labor federation. Art Pulaski, 10,000 versus 2 million. Sounds like the Democrats are outgunned here.

ART PULASKI, CALIFORNIA AFL-CIO: We have about, I'd say, 5,000 union members out there knocking on doors and making phone calls today. That's a lot of people to contact, a lot of voters. We have about a half million voters that we want to get to the polls today who are union families.

And we want them to remember that this election is not about celebrity. This election is about the issues that are so important to the future of working families, average families. That's what our fight's about.

WOODRUFF: But isn't it hard to get people to go to the polls to vote no on the recall of a governor? It's more complicated, isn't it, than to just say come out and vote for somebody?

PULASKI: It's a confusing election and it is hard. And that's why it takes us right down to the last moments of this election to say, remember, vote no on recall, because we want to preserve the gains that we've had.

This is not about taking the vote away from us that happened less than a year ago. This is about preserving the issues and the values that we've won over the past five years with Governor Davis. And the only way to do that is to say no on recall.

And we have backup candidate, and, of course, that's Cruz Bustamante who also supports the values and issues to important to the average family.

WOODRUFF: What are you hearing about turnout?

PULASKI: Turnout is up, turnout is high. It's a celebrity status election. And that's one of the challenges for us. It's an election that has taken a short-term. And so the celebrity status is still large in people's minds. And it's hard to break through that to get to the real values and issues that are most important to voters. So we're struggling uphill over that.

It is a celebrity status election. People need to remember the issues important to their lives. And that's what should bring them out to the polls.

WOODRUFF: You're saying it's hard to break through. Is it impossible to break through?

PULASKI: Well, you know, the polls have been more volatile than you and I have ever seen. And the final analysis of this will be who comes to the polls and what they do.

We're confident that most union families and most working families are going to say no to the recall. We won't know until 8:00 tonight, maybe not 8:00 tomorrow night. But we're going to keep pushing. I've got my walking shoes on. I'm going out there as soon as we're done and knock on doors myself.

WOODRUFF: So you still believe in your gut that Gray Davis can pull this out?

PULASKI: It's very close. We're a couple points behind. And if we can pull our people out to vote, we can still beat this thing.

WOODRUFF: Are you hearing of any problems from the polling places? Problems with voting equipment in any way?

PULASKI: No reports yet.

WOODRUFF: And -- and....

PULASKI: Now, the only problem that we know of, of course, is that there is grave confusion on people's minds about where to go to vote, particularly in L.A. So we've had people stationed at some of the old polling places, we're calling people to remind them it's not your normal polling place. Be patient. Give yourself a little extra time. Call the Los Angeles County Or the -- or the -- your local registrar of voter to find out where your polling place is.

It's a very confusing time for people. To vote no on recall, but also to find where you vote is so hard this election.

WOODRUFF: Are you getting a number of calls about that -- I mean, from people who are saying, I don't know where to go. It's not where it was the last time I voted.

PULASKI: We're not getting the calls yet ourselves, today, because I haven't got the report yet today. It's -- and, if you just give yourself a few more minutes, you'll be able to find your polling place and make sure you vote. And that's what we're urging people to do.

WOODRUFF: Art Pulaski with the California Labor Federation. It's very good of you to drop by. We appreciate it.

PULASKI: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Thanks for talking....

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: I appreciate it.

Well, there are dozens of candidates, as we've been telling you, on this recall ballot. Dozens. But Governor Davis sees it a two-man race.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVIS: So the voters have one choice to make. It's crystal clear. Either elect Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor or vote no on the recall.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Davis talks to me about the voters' choice and Schwarzenegger's star power.

If Schwarzenegger wins, is he ready for the job? I'll ask one of his political allies.

And does Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean have anything to lose in this recall? He'll join us live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Deborah Feyerick in New York. The Justice Department is fighting a judge's ruling. They've officially notified the court that they are appealing. Observers say the judge last week gutted prosecutor's case against Zacarias Moussaoui, the alleged 20th hijacker. Not only did Judge Leoni Brinkema take away the possibility of a death sentence, she also barred prosecutors from introducing any evidence relating to 9/11. Prosecutors believe Moussaoui was directly connected to those attacks, that his goal was to fly a plane into the White House and that he would have done it had he not been arrested a month before 9/11 and held on immigration charges.

The penalties were imposed by the judge after prosecutors refused to turn over three high-ranking al Qaeda operatives now in U.S. custody. Prosecutors say they will not do that because it's a matter of national security, that whatever the prisoners say is classified. Moussaoui says his right to a fair trial hinges on their testimony. He argues the al Qaeda captives will back up his claim that he was not part of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, but instead that he was part of a different plot to take place in a different country.

Again, prosecutors are appealing. The appeals court has a full calendar until December. But the three judges could schedule a special hearing before then.

More of INSIDE POLITICS will be back right away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: California's lieutenant governor, Cruz Bustamante, and State Senator Tom McClintock are hoping that an expected heavy turnout will help their chances in today's recall election. Both men have been trailing Arnold Schwarzenegger in the polls.

Right now, let's go to Sacramento where CNN's Miguel Marquez is covering the McClintock campaign and to Dan Lothian, who's keeping track of the Bustamante campaign.

Dan, let's begin with you. What are they saying in the Bustamante camp?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, as you remember, he, initially, Cruz Bustamante got into this race as somewhat of the reluctant candidate. He said he wasn't interested in running for governor and then that, of course, changed as he jumped into the race, saying that he was somewhat of the insurance policy for the Democrats in case Governor Gray Davis did get voted out.

Well, today, he was up bright and early, voting, around 8:00 this morning here in Sacramento at an elementary school. Cruz Bustamante -- initially, his campaign started off as no on the recall, yes on Bustamante. But as the weeks went by, it started becoming a Bustamante campaign and you'd heard less and less of that no on the recall, although that still remains part of his speech that he has.

Bustamante is expected to come here tonight here in Sacramento at some point to meet with the press.

Now let's go to Miguel Marquez, my colleague, who is covering the McClintock campaign, also here in Sacramento -- Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am indeed, here in Sacramento, Dan. Thanks very much.

Tom McClintock was in his district of Thousand Oaks (UNINTELLIGIBLE) bright and early today. That's right north of Los Angeles. We expect him here later tonight.

He told voters gathered there to vote their conscience. If you really think that I'm the best man for the job, then I'll end up governor at the end of the day. He's referring, of course, to the debate that happened a few weeks ago where most voters seemed to think that Tom McClintock was the best man to fill the governor's shoes, but then they turned around and said they're going to vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger because they didn't think Tom McClintock could actually win. So he kind of found himself in a difficult position there.

Today, he is going to be here in Sacramento about midday. He expects to address his crowd gathered here at the Hyatt, at the -- right across the street from the capitol, around 9:00 or 10:00 tonight. So we're looking forward to hearing from him -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Miguel, Dan, you're both -- you've both got it covered in Sacramento. Thank you very much. And we'll be talking to you as the afternoon wears on.

Well, will the political earthquake out here in California be felt across the country? Would an Arnold Schwarzenegger victory make the Democrats chances of recapturing the White House more difficult? I'll ask Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: We're working on establishing a connection with Governor Howard Dean, who is in New Hampshire today. We're going to get that going just as fast as we can.

Mean time a question -- do we have him? All right. Terrific. Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean joins us.

Thank you very much, Governor. We appreciate it.

DEAN: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: First off, on the California recall. You said yesterday that you think Gray Davis is going to keep his job, that he can beat this recall. Do you still think so?

DEAN: I think so. It's going to be a close election, as is obvious by the exit polls and so forth. But I think that he will keep his job.

You know, there's been a lot of controversy around Arnold Schwarzenegger. I think the people don't want to make that kind of a switch.

Sure, people are mad at Gray, because he's had a tough economy to deal with, but the fact is that it's probably better to continue with somebody that you know, even though you may not be fully satisfied, than it is to take the enormous risk of having somebody with the kinds of charges leveled at them that have been leveled at Arnold Schwarzenegger over the last few weeks.

WOODRUFF: If Arnold Schwarzenegger were elected, and Gray Davis is removed, would it be impossible for the Democrats to win California next year in the presidential campaign?

DEAN: It's not impossible, but it's always more difficult to win a state that has a governor of the opposite party in it. They have the patronage mechanisms, they have all the levers they can pull with state workers. So it just makes it that much more difficult. And I think that's one of the reasons the right-wing congressman, Darrell Issa, decided to finance this recall.

You know, although the president has kept his hands off this, I suspect strongly that Karl Rove has not kept his hands off this, and I see this as another attempt, just as we had in Colorado and Texas, to undo a previous election because the right wing didn't like the way the election came out.

WOODRUFF: Governor Dean, I want to turn to an issue that's part of the presidential campaign, and that has to do with Medicare. Yesterday, Senator John Kerry, campaigning in Iowa, brought up the dispute over your support for Medicare back in the mid-1990s.

He said, quote, "He," meaning you, "was for deeper cuts in Medicare, beyond what President Clinton wanted. He's trying to have it a different way."

What do you say to Senator Kerry?

DEAN: You know, these guys came after me, saying I was like McGovern and I couldn't win, now they're claiming I'm like Gingrich and I can't win.

The truth is, a third of all of the seniors in Vermont have prescription drug benefits. The people who are running against me have served in Washington together for almost a century.

Tell me what seniors have to show for their stay in Washington, and compare it to what seniors in my state have, with prescription drug benefits.

If you want change in Washington, you had better get rid of all the Democrats and the Republicans who've sat on prescription drug benefits for all these years and support somebody who's actually delivered them to seniors. I've delivered it. Those guys can say whatever they want about my approach to Medicare.

Of course, I support Medicare. But I want health insurance for every single man, woman and child in America and I've come closer to delivering that than any of my Washington opponents.

WOODRUFF: Senator and a question about the middle -- I'm sorry, governor -- and a question about the Middle East. President Bush said today that what Israel did in striking Syria was an essential -- was part of an essential campaign to defend the country of Israel. Do you agree with him, that it was essential for Israel to go after -- to go into Syrian territory in order to defend Israel's security?

DEAN: I don't know the facts and I don't know -- have any intelligence information about that terrorist camp. If it was a terrorist camp, I think Israel had a right to strike it. You've got to defend yourselves, as we did in Afghanistan because terror does come from other countries and the Syrian government is known for supporting that.

In general...

WOODRUFF: So you would encourage the Israeli government to do this sort of thing on...

DEAN: Well, that's not the question you asked me. The question you asked me is is it essential for -- was it essential for Israel to strike in to Syria. And the answer I gave you was, if that was a terrorist camp, I think they had every right to defend themselves.

WOODRUFF: And in other words, if these situations present themselves again, Israel should do the same thing?

DEAN: If Israel has to defend itself by striking terrorists elsewhere, it's going to have to do that. Terrorism has no place in bringing peace in the Middle East.

It's -- you know, the attack -- deliberate attack of men, women and children is not permitted under the Geneva Conventions and nations have a right to defend themselves, just as we defended ourselves by going into Afghanistan to get rid of Al Qaeda. And if there are terrorist threats coming from other parts of the world, Israel has a right to defend themselves, if those are aimed at Israel.

WOODRUFF: Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. Governor, thank you very much for talking with me.

DEAN: Thanks very much.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

DEAN: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Good to see you.

Question -- did Gray Davis run a smart recall campaign?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Did you underestimate him?

DAVIS: No, I never underestimate an actor who is a celebrity. This is California. I mean, celebrities are a big deal here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Up next, my one on one interview with the embattled governor.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Well, we continue our special coverage of the California recall with a conversation with the man at the center of the recall storm, Governor Gray Davis.

I began last night by asking the governor about Arnold Schwarzenegger's alleged misbehavior toward women. In particular, I asked about claims from the Schwarzenegger camp that the Davis campaign is somehow behind the allegations.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVIS: Mr. Schwarzenegger is pulling the oldest trick in the books, to try and blame someone else for his problems. All of this came out from the "L.A. Times" that said very clearly none of this information came from any of the candidates running for governor.

WOODRUFF: He's saying whatever the "Los Angeles times" says, that the fact that this has come out so late, in his mind, has to be connected with your campaign.

DAVIS: The "Times" said no campaign, including mine, had anything to do with their identifying these people. They did it through hard journalistic effort.

And again, Mr. Schwarzenegger is just changing the subject. He's more concerned about when these charges were unveiled than the fact that now 16 women have come forward showing great courage, taking on a rich, powerful actor, saying that he, Mr. Schwarzenegger, touched these women in inappropriate and offensive ways. And if true, in some cases, would constitute a crime.

That is the news, not when it came out or how it came out.

WOODRUFF: Did you make a mistake by not focusing on Arnold Schwarzenegger earlier in this campaign? You initially talked about right wing politicians being out to remove you from office. Should you have focused on him and talked about a two-person race earlier?

DAVIS: Well, this campaign, as you know, has taken more twists and turns. It's like a mad hatter's ride.

And early on, it was the work of right wing individuals like Darrell Issa, who put up $3 million to qualify this initiative. And there were 135 candidates running.

But now, all the polls suggest that Arnold Schwarzenegger will win the replacement election. So the voters have one choice to make. It is crystal clear, either elect Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor or vote no on the recall and allow me to finish the term they elected me to.

WOODRUFF: Did you underestimate him?

DAVIS: No, I never underestimate an actor who's a celebrity. This is California. I mean, celebrities are a big deal here. They come into a race with instant advantages. But I think voters are rethinking their choice, and that's why you see the race closing.

WOODRUFF: The Democrat, Cruz Bustamante, your lieutenant governor, the Democrats who are supporting him as a replacement candidate, did they let you down by splitting the Democrats in this state?

DAVIS: That remains to be seen. Every Democrat in this state is against the recall. Some, like Dianne Feinstein and Phil Angelides are against the recall and not voting on question number two.

I don't care about question number two. I want people to vote no on the recall, because I think it's bad for California. It will breed another costly recall in retaliation and will discourage investors, who like political stability. And we need investors to create new jobs.

WOODRUFF: How do you feel about this? It was just 11 months ago that you, Gray Davis, went to the voters of California and said, "Reelect me for a second term as your governor." Something like eight million people voted. You won three and a half million or so votes.

In a matter of hours, those people are being asked to go back to the polls to take -- to vote up or down on your again. How does this feel?

DAVIS: Well, obviously, I think it's unfair. I think it's undemocratic. But people are not worried about my problems. I asked them for the opportunity to be governor to solve their problems.

And we have solved a lot of them, which is in part why I hope people allow me to finish the job. We have a million more children with health insurance. Test scores in schools are up five years in a row. We have the most environmentally minded state in the country, and it's the most pro-choice state in America.

So we've done a lot of good things, and the other problems we're working on. And I just hope that people will allow me to complete the term.

WOODRUFF: You seem very calm, remarkably calm to me, considering what tomorrow is. Are you scared at all?

DAVIS: No, I'm not scared. I was in Vietnam 34 years ago. There's no rockets being launched. There's no grenades being thrown. This is a political campaign.

And I have great confidence in the people of this state. They're fair-minded. I trust them, and I believe they'll do the right thing.

WOODRUFF: At the same time, you've spent the last 28 years of your life working in California state government. This, tomorrow is a -- could be a fateful day for you.

DAVIS: It could be. But I've had a great opportunity to serve. People have allowed many of my dreams to come true. And the very people who will cast judgment on my fate and their fate tomorrow are the same people who've allowed me to serve for all these many years.

So all I say to them is to think long and hard about your choice. Whether or not you want to turn over this government to Arnold Schwarzenegger or whether you want to allow me to finish the term and continue the policies that we've advanced over the last four and a half years.

WOODRUFF: You're at peace with this whole thing?

DAVIS: I'm at peace with it. As you know, my wife and I are people of faith. And we believe whatever God's will is, God's will be done. And if he has another plan in mind, so be it. I'm hoping that his plan is to allow me to finish this term and to allow me to continue serving people and to make this place better than it is today for all the people that I represent.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Governor Gray Davis talking to me last night. That's the word from him.

And with me now from Washington to talk a little bit more about the Arnold Schwarzenegger campaign is media consultant Sheri Annis. She worked on Schwarzenegger's successful effort just last year to pass the after school program known as Proposition 49.

Sheri Annis, good to see you again.

SHERI ANNIS, MEDIA CONSULTANT: Great to see you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Sherri, you've watched Arnold Schwarzenegger make the transition from actor to public figure to governor or to candidate for governor of California. How has he done, do you think?

ANNIS: Well, I think he stepped up to the plate. I sort of see the campaign has gone through three different carnations.

First, in my view, it was sort of Arnold-lite, getting his sea legs. And then he came out as a real policy guy, especially during the debates. People felt comfortable and his first major press conference.

And now, he's in this third tier, where he is, one, looking for the clock to run out, hoping that happens and trying to keep the positive message out there.

I think he's learned a lot during this campaign. And it will be very interesting to see how he governs beyond now, if in fact, he wins. One of the things I...

WOODRUFF: Go ahead.

ANNIS: One of the things -- Sure. One of the things I think will be interesting here is if Arnold wins after tonight, he will probably receive the lowest mandate in terms of percentages than any governor in California history. But he will likely receive the largest crossover, the most bipartisan mandate of any California governor in California history.

And I think that will be a huge boon to the way he governs, how he governs. And Cruz Bustamante, it would be a persona non grata at this point, and he wouldn't have to worry about him.

WOODRUFF: You and I talked early in this campaign, Sheri, about the transition Schwarzenegger would have to make from dealing with a Hollywood press corps to the political press corps.

He has given very selectively few interviews to the news media. Is this -- he's pretty much stayed away. He's answered -- He's done some interviews, clearly. But hasn't done nearly as many as a candidate, I think, would normally do under these circumstances. Is that a strategy that's worked for him?

ANNIS: He took a calculated risk here, and I think he changed it somewhat about halfway through the campaign.

First, he was almost exclusively doing entertainment media. And that wasn't working for him, because everybody else was writing about this and they were not pleased. And he was upsetting the mainstream political media. And he couldn't just ignore that.

So then he finally gave in a little bit more and gave some token interviews and then some larger interviews. I think that helped him. He certainly hasn't done as much as most candidates have, but he took a calculated risk here. He knew he'd be saturating the television with ads, and it seems to be working at this point.

WOODRUFF: And if he were elected, Sheri, do you think we'd see him talking more to the press than he has been?

ANNIS: I do think he'd be talking more, because he no longer has to win. And also, the entertainment media won't be as important in a post-win situation, though they're going to be around. We're not getting rid of that.

What will also be interesting, if for some reason this recall does not pass -- the recall, Davis stays in office, I still think Arnold would have a great political career ahead of him. If he had chosen not to run, I think his political career would be over.

But ultimately, I think he's going to win, and I think whenever the votes are counted, he will be governor of California.

WOODRUFF: Sherri Annis, who's been working with Arnold Schwarzenegger for several years. Sheri, thank you very much for talking with us.

ANNIS: Thank you, Judy. Have a great day.

WOODRUFF: And you.

A little we get into the final hours of this extraordinary campaign, I'm joined here in Los Angeles by Ken Khachigian. He's a long-time Republican Party strategist here in the state of California.

Ken Khachigian, you and I have known each other for a long time. I know you're talking to your friends out there who are looking at the numbers, at least as they've seen them. Has this race tightened up in the last day or three?

KEN KHACHIGIAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Actually, I don't think it's tightened that much. I think it's a little bit of hype, the notion that it's become razor thin.

I think at the end of the day that the recall is going to succeed by high single digits or low double digits. Now that's purely instinct. I've seen no polls or anything else. But I think the momentum has been there from the beginning, and I think people have, outside of California, have never understood the full depth of anger and how wide and deep it's been about the governor's regime here in California. So I don't think there's going to be any change.

WOODRUFF: What about, assuming he wins, what about the point that Sheri Annis just made, that among other things, that he could win with the lowest mandate, because there are 135 candidates on the ballot. He could win -- I mean, we don't know what the percentage is going to be. But it could be a smaller percentage than anything close to 50 percent.

KHACHIGIAN: I couldn't wait to jump in and disagree with her on that.

WOODRUFF: I could feel you.

KHACHIGIAN: Because you have to really combine the Schwarzenegger vote with the McClintock vote in this election. And if...

WOODRUFF: Whey do you say that?

KHACHIGIAN: Well, if McClintock gets somewhere around 20 percent or high 18, if you believe the current polls, and Arnold gets around 40 and, again if you believe the current polls, either way, you're looking at a 60 percent vote for Republican conservative governance of this state.

So to me that's a big mandate for smaller government, less regulation, lower taxes, and all the things that both he and McClintock have been talking about on the fiscal side of the...

WOODRUFF: Is Arnold Schwarzenegger ready to govern if he's elected tonight?

KHACHIGIAN: I don't know. That's an interesting question. He's in for a different world, that's for sure. It's not going to be a dignified coronation. It's going to be very tough. There's going to be a lot of difficulties with the legislature.

But I think, frankly, he has, if he's elected, he has leadership qualities that he'll bring to the table and a great deal of personal charm.

But on the other hand, it's a whole different world out there. As I said to somebody ,when he gets the 114 fair board appointments sitting on his desk, I'd like to see his reaction.

WOODRUFF: What board?

KHACHIGIAN: Fair boards. These are lowly little state, county fairs all through the state.

WOODRUFF: What about working with Democrats? You've got a Democratic majority legislature in the state of California. You've got Democratic statewide office holders up and down the line. How will he work with them, assuming again, if he's elected?

KHACHIGIAN: I think it will be difficult, but here's my advice to the legislature, not that they're going to take it. The Democrats ought to be aware that actually they are less popular. The legislature is actually less popular than Governor Davis. And they ought to realize that a lot of the problems that Governor Davis had was caused by the legislature.

And if there's any time to feel sorry for Governor Davis, is that he sort of got snookered by the legislature into doing a lot of these bills and budgets that caused him all these problems.

So I think they're going to have to be careful that they don't step over the line.

WOODRUFF: Ken Khachigian, who's been watching the politics in this state for a long time...

KHACHIGIAN: Too long.

WOODRUFF: ... great to see you. Thanks very much.

And we should, of course, point out we're all speculating here. We don't know what the results are going to be tonight.

KHACHIGIAN: That's right. Exactly. We have no idea.

WOODRUFF: Well, we thank you very much. It's great to see you. Thanks for coming by. Tracing the roots of the California recall election, coming up. A number of key events led to today's vote. Our Bruce Morton will look in with a timeline.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The official effort to drive Gray Davis from the California governor's office got off the ground less than one year ago.

Our Bruce Morton looks back at some of the key events leading up to today's election.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You could say it started in 2002 campaign, when Gray Davis got reelected after a negative campaign against Republican Bill Simon, winning with just 47 percent of the vote. Just three months later, February 4 of this year, Ted Costa announced a drive to get enough signatures to recall Davis.

TED COSTA, RECALL ORGANIZER: There's no doubt that this is the two by four across the side of the head. We've tried everything else.

MORTON: But recall really kicked into high gear in May, when multi-millionaire Congressman Darrell Issa announced he was setting up a group called Rescue California. With his money, Rescue would hire professional signature gatherers. Gray Davis was in trouble then.

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: More than a million Californians can't be wrong and aren't wrong. California needs a change. We have a citizen movement underway.

MORTON: With paid professional help, of course.

In July, Green Party leader Peter Camejo said he'd run and maybe more important, "Terminator 3," starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, opened at a theater near you.

Later, in July, recall supporters said they had enough signatures. Anti-recall groups went to court, but on July 23, Secretary of State Kevin Shelley said the recall petitions had more than enough signatures. It was on.

KEVIN SHELLEY, CALIFORNIA SECRETARY OF STATE: It is my duty today to certify the first recall election of a governor in California history.

MORTON: The next day, Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, himself a candidate, set the election for October 7. Efforts to delay it filed.

August 5, conservative Republican Tom McClintock announced his candidacy. Gray Davis kept saying it was a very bad idea.

DAVIS: And I think at the end of the day the voters are going to opt for a progressive agenda, not a conservative agenda.

MORTON: Columnist Arianna Huffington jumped in on August 6, and so did the big guy on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

SCHWARZENEGGER: This is why I'm going to run for governor of the state of California.

MORTON: And Darrell Issa, who made it happen and hoped to become governor himself, looked at Arnold and announced he wouldn't run.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: It's hard to believe. But that's what happened.

Senator Bob Graham, moving to the presidential campaign, will not be making plans to move into the White House. Just ahead, we'll find out why Graham decided to give up his quest for the Democratic nomination.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Florida Senator Bob Graham is pulling the plug on his presidential bid. CNN congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl looks at some of the reasons behind Graham's decision to drop out of the battle for the Democratic nomination.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D-FL), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My name is Bob Graham. I am from the electable wing of the Democratic Party.

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That was Bob Graham's boast until a lack of money and popular support forced him to pull the plug on his presidential bid with humility.

GRAHAM: I'm leaving because I had made the judgment that I cannot be elected president of the United States.

KARL: On paper, Graham was the ideal candidate. A wildly popular figure in boat-rich Florida, he had been crushing opponents there since he was first elected governor 25 years ago.

As the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he also brought foreign policy heft to the campaign.

But despite some clever attention getting moments like a NASCAR sponsorship, Graham's campaign never went anywhere. If he made a mark at all, it was with his strident criticism of President Bush's approach to the war on terrorism.

GRAHAM: We have let al Qaeda off the hook. We had them on the ropes, close to dismantlement. And then, as we moved resources out of Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight a war in Iraq, we let them regenerate. KARL: Graham voted against the Iraq war and was the first of the major candidates to accuse President Bush of misleading the American people about the Iraqi threat.

But the anti-war element of the party flocked to a different candidate. Maybe it was because Howard Dean is a more fiery speaker.

But from the start, Graham would have been an odd choice for the peaceniks in the party. He was opposed to the war in Iraq in part because he thought Syria and Lebanon would be better targets.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KARL: Now that that he is out, the Democrats that remain in the race are salivating over Graham's supporters in Florida. Joe Lieberman has already scheduled a trip for next week to go down to Florida, meet with Graham supporters and do fund-raising down there. The other major candidates have also reached out to Graham, as Democrats are wasting no time, Judy, in picking up the pieces of his campaign.

WOODRUFF: Jon, we wonder who's going to be left to represent the electable wing of the Democratic Party, as he put it when he got into this race.

KARL: We shall see.

WOODRUFF: OK. Jon Karl, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

More headlines from the presidential race in our campaign news daily. Former U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen, who's a Republican, shared his thoughts on Democratic presidential hopeful Wesley Clark today on CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING."

Cohen, who led the Pentagon while Clark was NATO supreme commander, did not dispute reports that he often clashed with Clark behind the scenes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: There was friction between General Clark and myself. And frankly, I think it would be inappropriate for me to comment on his political aspirations. I made a judgment during the time that he was serving as head of NATO, and I felt that the acts, as such, when it fell, spoke for itself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Oklahoma Republican Senator Don Nickels has announced that he will not run for a fifth term. Nickels is the budget committee chairman and former Republican Party whip. He was first elected in 1980 at the age of 31.

Former GOP congressman J.C. Watts has been mentioned as a possible candidate to replace Nickels, but sources say -- close to Watts say that it is not likely that he will run. Republican Congressman Ernest Istook is also said to be interested, along with Democratic Representative Brad Carson.

We keep hearing how unprecedented this recall campaign out in California has been. But there was more politics as usual than you might think.

Californians have another seven hours to vote. But will the vote counting drag on for days and days? We'll have much more of our recall special ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Total recall. After all the hype, California voters are making history, deciding whether to cut short one political career and launch another.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Do you want to go backwards with Gray Davis, or do you want to go forward with Arnold? That is the question.

DAVIS: I never underestimate an actor who is a celebrity. This is California.

ANNOUNCER: Election officials on alert. Any signs of hanging chads or Florida-style slip-ups? We'll check with the California secretary of state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bustamante is going to bust a move.

ANNOUNCER: It's been quite a show already. And there should be plenty more excitement when the votes are tallied. Stay right here for coming attractions of tonight's wild ride.

Now, live from Los Angeles, a special edition of Judy Woodruff's INSIDE POLITICS.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Hello again from California. Millions of voters in this state are going to the polling places.

Two questions and 135 names, plus Gray Davis, are on the recall ballot. But in many people's minds, it all ads up to one choice. Will Gray Davis stay on as governor or will Arnold Schwarzenegger take over the job?

While pre-election polls suggested Schwarzenegger was on his way to victory, the Republican actor wasn't taking anything for granted when he voted in Los Angeles.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHWARZENEGGER: We don't know. It is up to the gods now. It's up to God for the decision, you know. We did all the work and we worked hard and campaigned hard. We tried to get the message out there. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Meantime, Gray Davis cast his vote in West Hollywood, and he urged Democrats to follow his lead. But like Schwarzenegger, he suggested that a higher power may be at work.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVIS: Life has a lot of surprises. But Sharon and I are people of faith, and we know that all we can do is respond to the challenges confronted us. We have done that. I'm proud of the campaign we've run.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, has been covering this recall from day one.

Candy, you've been talking to both camps, Davis and Schwarzenegger. What are they saying?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, at this point, what they can do is what the rest of us are doing, is waiting to see what the poll numbers show.

I can tell you, and I think it's reflected in those statements that -- from both the candidates that you just saw, that the Schwarzenegger camp seems very upbeat. They have overnight poll numbers, they say, showing the recall winning. They have numbers showing that Arnold would be the person who substitutes for Gray Davis.

The Gray Davis campaign -- sorry let me just tell you I'm in Arnold Schwarzenegger's headquarters. That's why we're hearing all these noises.

The Davis campaign, also upbeat, as it was yesterday. The fact of the matter is, this is really the white knuckle time. Everything that's going to be said has been said. There are some things you can do around the margins, call more from the phone banks, get more people out, drag them to the polls. But in the end, this is really that time where they just have to sit back and wait.

WOODRUFF: Candy, we've talked so much about how this election has been an anomaly, one of a kind, unprecedented. But when it really gets down to it, how different is this election from every other one you've covered?

CROWLEY: Well, you know, look, it is a lot shorter. It's the first time, you know, in the middle of somebody's term -- not even in the middle, the very beginning of somebody's term, that there has been a recall that has gotten this far in California.

If Gray Davis is recalled, it would be the only the second time in the nation. So yes, it's very unusual. But I'll tell you. When I was on the Schwarzenegger bus and then later when I was on the Davis fly-around, it was exactly like any other campaign.

Gray Davis went, basically, to the party faithful. That is, the unions. Arnold Schwarzenegger campaigned through largely Republican territories. Their wives were with them.

So you know, in the end, it was all about what it's always about. And that is getting your voters to show up at the polls.

WOODRUFF: Which is a lesson to all of us who try to find something different. Every one of these and especially this one. All right.

Candy, thanks very much. And I know you're going to be at Davis headquarters tonight. So we're going to let you go back to work.

CROWLEY: Thanks.

WOODRUFF: Anticipation is building for the recall vote count tonight, but there is no guarantee, as you've been hearing, too, that we're going to have a certain winner by tomorrow morning.

CNN's Rusty Dornin looks at the challenge that's ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Never before have so many voters taken out absentee ballots for an election in California, ore than three million.

So while getting out the vote doesn't seem to be a problem, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on election night is close to a million absentees. If the recall race is tight, we could all be sitting on the edge of our chairs for awhile.

JOHN ARNTZ, SAN FRANCISCO ELECTION DIRECTOR: There will be a substantial number of ballots that have to be processed the day after the election and for a week or two afterwards. And if the race is extremely close, it could take a couple of weeks.

DORNIN: The official count takes up to 28 days in order to certify.

California has different voting systems. The infamous punch card ballots, ballots where you fill in the circle and touch screen voting. Counties using touch screen voting may produce results more quickly.

ARNTZ: It takes more time to process the paper ballots, be it the punch card ballots or optical scan ballots.

DORNIN: Places like Los Angeles are hiring plenty of poll workers to make sure voters punch their cards right.

Because the election happened so quickly, some counties consolidated. Now there are 5,000 fewer polling places, meaning voters may show up at the wrong place to vote. Their ballots, known as provisionals, also take longer to count.

BRAD CLARK, ALAMOEDA COUNTY REGISTRAR: It's just the one with the most votes.

DORNIN: In his 21 years as an election official, Brad Clark says he's seen few surprises.

CLARK: I've tended to notice that the absentees that come before election day, the ones that you count after election day tend to be, you know, run along the same trend. So you can usually tell.

DORNIN (on camera): Election officials won't predict even voter turnout for the election, because there's nothing to compare it to. A fact of which California voters are well aware.

Rusty Dornin, CNN, Sacramento, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: And our apologies, a little hard to hear Rusty in part of her report. And we apologize for that.

Joining us now from Sacramento is California's top election official. He is Secretary of State Kevin Shelley.

Good to see you again, Mr. Shelley.

KEVIN SHELLEY, CALIFORNIA SECRETARY OF STATE: Good to see you.

WOODRUFF: Is California, and is the election machinery in this state, prepared to handle what's going on today?

SHELLEY: Well, you know, Judy, we have prepared more for this election than any other election in the history of California. And I think we're ready.

One never knows what will happen on election day. You know, one of the by-products of the huge interest in this election are the enormously long lines at the polling places, which is why we recruited additional poll workers. We trained them. Why we've allowed people to vote anywhere in their county provisionally today. And so I think we're ready.

WOODRUFF: So you don't have any -- There's no part of the state you're sweating, no county, no group of precincts?

SHELLEY: Well, obviously, there were lawsuits going back and forth during the last several months, in particular directed at the six counties that use the punch card ballots, such as Los Angeles, San Diego, some of the other large counties, comprising over 40 percent of our voting population.

So my office has dispatched over 50 election monitors to those counties and some others to monitor what's going on on the ground, in the polling places, within the election offices, to make sure there are no irregularities, to make sure that we are ensuring that every vote is correctly and appropriately counted.

So we're trying to do everything we can to make sure this democratic process works today.

WOODRUFF: Kevin Shelley, let me ask you about a comment. This is a county official who's worried about if this is a close result and it comes down to counting the absentee ballots. We've been talking about those.

I'm going to read from something that the clerk reporter in Contra Costa County -- His name is Stephen Weir. Here's what he said. He said, "If it's close, it's bloody. The next day, we're dead," meaning tired, "and people want to know what's left to be counted. And the bottom line is that we're talking about 1.2 million votes that are not counted on election night."

So my question again, are you ready for that?

SHELLEY: Well, obviously, what that will mean is, it will just delay knowing the result. I don't think it will affect the accuracy of the result. I don't think it will affect the integrity of the election process.

But it will frustrate, obviously, perhaps many members of the public and the media that they won't know the outcome right away.

Depending on how close it is and how many people bring in their absentee ballots today to the polling place, vote what's known as provisionally. If that's anywhere from a million and a half votes and there's a small outcome after today's voting, then it may take awhile to know the outcome.

But ultimately, I believe we'll have a fair and accurate count.

WOODRUFF: What is your sense right now about when we're going to know results?

SHELLEY: Well, I think that, you know, there's three million, a little over three million absentee ballots that were sent out to California voters. A little over two million have already been cast. So we'll know the answer to those votes tonight.

We'll also know what the outcome was of the people who voted in the polling places today. What we don't know, of course, are those same-day absentees and the provisionals.

We should know late tonight or tomorrow morning kind of where this election is. As Brad Clark said earlier, the county registrar for Alamoeda, usually, those later votes break the same way as the votes we have tonight. So I think most Americans will have a pretty good sense of the outcome by tomorrow morning.

WOODRUFF: And finally, Kevin Shelley, what are you hearing about turnout today? SHELLEY: Well, we're hearing that because of the unprecedented interest in this election, that we are probably going to break records, at least for a gubernatorial election here in California.

We don't know what that will be, because as you said, going into this piece that there is no similar election in the past to really base projections on. But so far, at least, we've been hearing that turnout is on a par with what we have seen in some record-breaking years for governor's elections.

WOODRUFF: Kevin Shelley, the man who's got a lot on his shoulders today and tomorrow, and we'll see how it turns out. Secretary of state for the state of California, good to see you again.

SHELLEY: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Thanks.

SHELLEY: Good to see you too.

WOODRUFF: Well, if Arnold Schwarzenegger does wind up winning this recall election, it won't necessarily mean that he has put sexual misconduct allegations behind him.

On "CNN TODAY", California's Democratic Party chairman warned that Schwarzenegger could face a formal investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ART TORRES, CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN: The potential impact is that he's going to be investigated, whether he submits himself personally or whether the district attorney or the attorney general begins an investigation. He's going to be... (AUDIO/VIDEO GAP)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: In the state that is home to the movie industry, the recall election seems a perfect fit for the big screen. Drama, suspense, and a star-studded list of characters.

And if you're watching it all play out, our Bill Schneider has a list of things to look for.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Welcome to Hollywood! The main feature begins shortly.

But first, coming attractions. What to look for in tonight's exit polls.

The women's vote. Women made Arnold Schwarzenegger the frontrunner after they saw him debate. Watch and see whether the news reports of unwanted sexual advances turn women against the former Mr. Universe.

The Latino vote. Will it hold for Gray Davis? Watch the numbers to see whether Latinos turn out in big numbers to support one of their own, Cruz Bustamante.

The Democratic base. National Democrats like Bill Clinton have come out to make the case that the recall is part of a Republican plan to steal elections they can't win. Do Democrats believe that?

New voters. They say Arnold Schwarzenegger will do the same thing Jesse the Body Ventura did, bring a flood of new voters to the polls, especially young men. Are they right?

The labor vote. Governor Davis has delivered for the unions. We'll see whether the unions deliver for Davis.

The immigration issue. Davis switched positions and signed a law allowing illegal aliens to get driver's licenses. Will that decision pay off at the polls, or will Davis pay a price for doing that?

Absentee voters. Two million Californians voted early, before the accusations against Arnold Schwarzenegger became widely known. Their votes could determine the outcome of this election. Or not. We'll see.

The McClintock factor. Only one candidate is making a favorable impression on the voters, Conservative Tom McClintock. Will he provide a home for Republicans who are queasy about supporting Schwarzenegger?

The recall issue. The rest of the world thinks this recall movie is a laugh riot. We'll see if Californians think it's a serious drama.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: Oh, yes, there's got to be a sequel. If Arnold Schwarzenegger can take California, does that mean George Bush has a chance here in the Golden State? Talk to the exit poll. And bring lots of popcorn -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Great idea, popcorn and peanuts. Bill Schneider, see you later.

Well, President Bush says he wants to know the truth.

Up next, we head to Washington. Our John King reports from the White House on the president's latest comments about the CIA leak investigation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: President Bush had more to say today about the CIA leak, allegedly involving a senior administration official. Let's get more on this now from our senior White House correspondent, John King.

John, the president may be expressing some doubt that this person will be known?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Expressing a bit of skepticism, anyway, Judy, on a very busy day in terms of the leak investigation amount the White House.

About 40 minutes from now, an internal White House deadline for some 2,000 staffers to turn over any records they might have that could be relevant to the Justice Department investigation.

Walking down the hall a few moments ago, people are going through phone logs, going through e-mail. The search continues.

Mr. Bush was asked about this earlier today, during a cabinet meeting. He hoped to talk about the economy. Instead, of course, questions about the leak investigation.

One of those questions was is the president confident that the person responsible or the persons responsible for this leak will ultimately be found and brought to justice? The president did sound a bit skeptical.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, this is a large administration and there's a lot of senior officials. I don't have any idea. I'd like to. I want to know the truth.

That's why I've instructed this staff of mine to cooperate fully with the investigators. Full disclosure and everything we know, the investigators will find out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Now the White House increasingly worried this is not only a criminal investigation, but a political distraction, perhaps even a damaging distraction for this president.

The Justice Department is giving the White House two more weeks to turn over those documents, but the president's lawyer, Alberto Gonzales, has everyone here under a 5 p.m. deadline today.

Chief of Staff Andy Card in a memo to White House staffers today explaining the reasons for that deadline. Andy Card saying, quote, "The sooner we complete the search and delivery of documents, the sooner the Justice Department can complete its inquiry... and the sooner we can all return our full attention to doing the work of the people that the president has entrusted to us."

Now, Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, today saying that he has asked, because of speculation in the news media, three critical aides whether she had a role in this leak at all. One is Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser. Another is Lewis Libby, also known as Scooter Libby. He's the vice president's chief of staff. Also, Elliott Abrams, a key top aide on the National Security Council. Scott McClellan says he has directly asked all three if they were the source of the leak or had anything to do with the leak. All three have denied any role at all.

Here at the White House again, Judy, they are going through computers, going through their records, their phone logs and the like. They are saying they will try to make the deadline. If not 5 tonight, certainly by the end of the day today. So we expect some staffers here at the White House quite late into the evening. Maybe they'll watch the recall results, as well.

WOODRUFF: I suspect this is the day like no other yet at this White House.

KING: Right.

WOODRUFF: OK. John King, thank you very much.

Well, it has been one wild ride.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm running for governor.

GARY COLEMAN, CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Hi, I'm Gary Coleman. Are you going to vote for me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the year 2,000-plus. We're not...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: When we come back, the sights and the sounds of the recall campaign.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Well, we're counting, and it's just less than seven hours from now that the polls across the state of California will close and a politically historic day in this Golden State will come to an end.

Whatever the outcome, it has been an intriguing story to watch, to put it mildly. We look back now at some of the highlights leading up to today's election.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Recall Davis now!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Recall Davis now!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Recall Davis now!

LT. GOV. CRUZ BUSTAMANTE (D), CALIFORNIA: The date that I've decided to choose for this election is Tuesday, October the 7th.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I'm going to run for governor of the state of California.

COLEMAN: I'm Gary Coleman. Are you going to vote for me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a circus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm an adult film star so I'm the most experienced candidate running for governor.

LARRY FLYNT, CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: My name is Larry Flynt. I'm running for governor of California.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's all kind of a fiasco right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not going to take any bribes. I'm not going to take any money. I'm not a political whore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're laughing at us. I mean, all over the U.S., they're laughing at us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gubernatorial hopefuls who work the floor were always ready to please the rich and powerful. We finally found someone to help us clean up Sacramento. Arianna Huffington.

SCHWARZENEGGER: What this guy owes me bacon now. You can't just have eggs without bacon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You gave me another chance.

DANA CARVEY, COMEDIAN: You know, you better be careful up there in Sacramento. Bustamante is going to bust a move.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never has a court in this country stopped an election after voting already has begun.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, FORMER CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: This is the way you treat women. We know that. But not now.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I have just realized that I have the perfect part for you in "Terminator 4."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, this is not Comedy Central.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I know that the people of California can see through this trash politics. I have behaved badly sometimes. Yes, it is true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Recall no, Bustamante si.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Recall no, Bustamante si.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Recall no, Bustamante si.

KERMIT THE FROG: It's not that easy being Gray. Still, Gray is our governor right now, even though he's not very warm and friendly like. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): California day, I know that I can make it.

DAVIS: Why would they want to recall a guy like me? I don't understand it. I don't get it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: We are showing you the light moments, but, of course, we know this is about something real and serious, a state with 35 million people, the largest state in the country.

That's it for this special edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Stay with CNN tonight for more recall coverage. I will be at Arnold Schwarzenegger's headquarters.

Wolf Blitzer will be tracking election results once the polls close at 11 p.m. Eastern, 8 Pacific.

What happens after tonight? Find out at 3 p.m. Eastern tomorrow when we are back with another special edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

I'm Judy Woodruff. Thanks for joining us. "CROSSFIRE" starts right now. We'll see you throughout the night.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com



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