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Sacramento Ready For Arnold?; Davis Emotional Following Defeat

Aired October 10, 2003 - 14:59   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: The governor-elect of California says he plans to stay out of sight today, a casual Friday, with no public events or announcements planned in what has been an extraordinary week in this state's political history. The excitement of election night now behind him, you could say that a lot of heavy lifting awaits Arnold Schwarzenegger when he gets to Sacramento.
And joining me with more on the soon-to-be-governor, Frank Buckley, who has been covering him for several days -- Frank, are they all ready in Sacramento?

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think Sacramento is ready and he's ready to move forward there.

And the first big challenge, Judy, for the Schwarzenegger team is putting together a budget that has to be delivered by January. And yesterday, Schwarzenegger announced that Donna Arduin, who is Florida's budget director, is taking a leave from that job to conduct an independent audit of California's budget.

I'm told that, today, she's in Sacramento getting a lay of the land and beginning the process of determining the scope of the audit. Arduin's appointment was announced yesterday, along with more than 60 other names now attached to the transition committee.


BUCKLEY (voice-over): Borrowing a phrase from the era of his wife's uncle, Jack Kennedy, Arnold Schwarzenegger said he would seek out the best and the brightest for his administration, his 68-member transition team reflecting the diversity he expects to see in his Cabinet.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR-ELECT: People that are to the left, people that are to the right and people that are to the center.

BUCKLEY: Among the transition advisers, former Secretary of State in the Reagan administration George Shultz, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, former Republican Governor Pete Wilson, all of them involved in Schwarzenegger's campaign.

But new names on the Schwarzenegger team included surprises, like Susan Estrich, who ran the failed Democratic presidential campaign of former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.

SCHWARZENEGGER: You will see people all the way from Bill Simon, all the way to the other side, Willie Brown.


BUCKLEY: That was the reaction of GOP political consultant Alan Hoffenblum as he heard the pairing of conservative businessman Bill Simon and liberal San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. But Hoffenblum says, Schwarzenegger has it right in concluding that he'll need the parties to work together.

ALAN HOFFENBLUM, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT: There's a lot of hope out there that Arnold Schwarzenegger's going to bridge some of those schisms between the two extremes and force both Republicans and Democrats to work together to get us out of this fiscal crisis.

BUCKLEY: Schwarzenegger says he's confident legislators will play ball.

SCHWARZENEGGER: But I don't see a problem there. If there is a problem, you can be assured that I will go directly to the people, because the people of California have made it loud and clear, made it very clear that they want change.

BUCKLEY: But while Schwarzenegger talked transition, a final shouted question from a reporter hinted at a lingering issue from the campaign that may follow him to Sacramento.

QUESTION: Are you still going go look into the specifics of sexual allegations, governor-elect, as you said over the weekend?


QUESTION: No, it's not.


BUCKLEY: And if you couldn't hear what Schwarzenegger said, he said about the sexual harassment allegations, "Old news." Aides say the transition team does not have a group of people looking into the groping charges. They feel they've refuted some allegations.

Schwarzenegger also issued a blanket apology to anyone who was offended by his actions. Aides say, now the Schwarzenegger team is concentrating on transition and governing -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Putting all that behind them, and we don't know whether it will emerge in some other way.


WOODRUFF: Frank, Democrats on the transition team, are they there just as window dressing or are they going to be making a real contribution?

BUCKLEY: Well, it's an interesting question. And I talked yesterday to Susan Estrich and we talked to someone from Willie Brown's office. They say that they were contacted by governor-elect Schwarzenegger. They said, yes, they'd be happy to help, but that they weren't given any marching orders as to exactly what they'd be doing.

The governor-elect's office, Schwarzenegger's office, says that they expect these people to recommend and to refer people for the transition committee, possibly for hiring into the Cabinet. Schwarzenegger will have the final say. And Mr. Schwarzenegger has said he wants Democrats in his Cabinet.

WOODRUFF: So they're taking him at his word on that. They think that he may fully put some Democrats in, right?

BUCKLEY: Absolutely.

Schwarzenegger has said as late as yesterday, "I want Democrats in the Cabinet." And he has, clearly, some Democrats who are on his transition committee. They're not going to have a summit meeting or anything like that, where you get all these people together. And we don't know exactly how much of a role they'll play in the actual transition. But in terms of recommending people for this new administration, they fully expect these Democrats to participate in recommending some folks.

WOODRUFF: Well, I have a feeling that state government in California is going to be covered the way state government has never been covered before.

BUCKLEY: Right. It should be fun.

WOODRUFF: All right, Frank, thank you very much.

Well, the man who lost the job that Arnold Schwarzenegger is going to be moving into, Governor Gray Davis, has said little since election night. But the man known for his dispassionate view of politics showed his emotional side in an interview for today's "Los Angeles Times."

Reporter Gregg Jones conducted that interview. And he joins me now from Sacramento.

Gregg Jones, how did you find the governor?


Clearly, I think, this is a painful moment for him. He said, this isn't fun. But he was, I think, unusually philosophical. He says he accepts the will of the voters and I think that he had a sense for quite a while that this was going to be a longshot, that he was going have trouble winning this.

WOODRUFF: So are you saying he's pretty realistic about what happened here?

JONES: Yes, I think that he has accepted it.

Again, I don't think it's a pleasant experience, that, obviously, Gray Davis didn't want to end his career in this fashion. But he continues to feel that he, to some extent, was at the center of a perfect political storm.

WOODRUFF: Does he feel humiliated? I've heard some people say in the last few days how humiliating, to have been elected 11 months ago and then to be booted out of office less than a year later.

JONES: Well, he sees this as largely the result of a bad economy. He noted in the interview that he benefited from a good economy in 1998, when he was first elected. He moved from being lieutenant governor to governor.

And the economy turned bad a couple of years ago. Californians aren't feeling very good about their lives; 401(k)s have been greatly diminished. And people tend to blame governors for that. He also noted that three out of five Democratic incumbents were booted out of office last November. He survived that. And Governor Vilsack of Iowa survived that. Gray Davis didn't survive those.

WOODRUFF: What did he have to say, Gregg Jones, about governor- elect Schwarzenegger?

JONES: He was somewhat generous in his comments. I asked him what it was like to have spent his life in state government, to have prided himself on his command of the issues, and to be handing over power to someone who has never spent a day in state government and, from the campaign, seems to have only a general grasp of issues.

And Governor Davis said, if he surrounds himself with good people, if he has good instincts, he'll be a capable governor.

WOODRUFF: We started out by saying that this was a rare emotional moment for Gray Davis. Tell us about that.

JONES: Right.

I conducted the interview on the flight up, actually, on a Southwest Airlines commercial flight up from Burbank to Sacramento. And then we got into the governor's limousine on the tarmac at the Sacramento Airport. And just after we'd gotten in the back seat of the limousine, I asked him about his concession speech.

And I said to him, that must have been a difficult moment.

And his reply was, "It wasn't difficult to deliver." And then he started to continue and he started to break down. He started -- tears welled in his eyes. His face started to quiver. He had to turn away and looked out the window. He started to continue again, had to stop, and looked out the window. And then he said, "I wanted to keep my family strong."

And, clearly, this is emotional for him, that -- he hasn't revealed much as governor. He's not an emotional guy. He's famously stoic. But this guy is not without feelings. And it's just hard to get at them. And I think that he keeps them out of the public eye. WOODRUFF: All right, Gregg Jones with "The Los Angeles Times," with a pretty extraordinary interview with the former governor -- with the governor, I should say. He is still the governor, until Arnold Schwarzenegger is sworn in. Gregg, thank you very much for talking with us.

JONES: Thanks, Judy.



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