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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Gray Davis Speech to Address Voter Concerns

Aired August 19, 2003 - 19:22   ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Time to check in on that crazy world of California politics and the recall.
We're actually on the verge of several potentially pivotal moments in the recall vote. For instance, within the hour, Governor Gray Davis is expected to give what's been touted as a major speech on the recall effort. Also on his leadership.

Tomorrow, a court is expected to rule on the ACLU's bid to push back that vote.

Our Dan Lothian is tracking it all tonight from UCLA. That is where Governor Davis is getting ready to give his speech.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The California recall race still has plenty of momentum, even as the candidates try to define their campaigns.

Using his middle class Sacramento neighborhood as the backdrop, Democratic candidate Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante delivered a so-called tough love approach he says will solve the state's budget crisis.

CRUZ BUSTAMANTE, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: The folks at the top have to pay their fair share. The folks at the bottom have to pay something. And the people being squeezed in the middle need some relief from car taxes and college fees.

LOTHIAN: Bustamante is calling for $8 billion in new taxes and more than $4.5 billion in cuts or savings.

Meanwhile, Governor Gray Davis is getting ready to answer his critics and shore up support.

In his first major speech, focusing on the recall effort, Davis is expected to acknowledge his personal shortcomings and reaffirm his determination to fight to save his job.

All this as a federal judge in Los Angeles considers whether the election should continue as planned in October, or be delayed until March, as an ACLU lawsuit is seeking. Political analysts say more time could change the current climate.

ELIZABETH GARRETT, PROFESSOR OF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: A delay like that would cause a reduction in the momentum that the recall forces have right now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAGAN: Dan Lothian with us from west L.A. right now. Dan, let's talk a little bit more about the speech that Governor Davis is about to give.

It sounds almost like a California therapy session where he's going to say, you know, "Let's gather around and talk about why you Californians really don't like me that much."

LOTHIAN: Well, that's right. This will be a critical speech for Governor Gray Davis, because 58 percent of likely voters do support that recall.

The political strategists say that what the governor needs to do is he needs to convince, make a convincing argument as to why he should keep his job, and then he has to make a convincing argument as to what he can do to fix the state's problems.

That is what the governor is expected to say in his speech, which is coming up in about 40 minutes or so here at UCLA. The speech is a short speech, only eight minutes, we're told by some of his aides. But he will say in that speech that he will go throughout the state, meet with voters and try to make that argument -- Daryn.

KAGAN: We'll have to see if anybody will be listening at 5 p.m. Pacific time when most people haven't even made it into rush hour yet. Dan Lothian at UCLA in West Los Angeles, thank you for that.

Well, the judge's ruling isn't the only thing coming out tomorrow in California.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's first campaign ads will start airing in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The man, of course, has been a movie star for years. So, of course, he's giving us some previews.

Here now, our Charles Feldman takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It may not have the production values of "Terminator 3," but it does have Arnold Schwarzenegger asking the people of California to vote for him to replace governor Gray Davis in October's recall election.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: This historic election has come about because there's a tremendous disconnect between the people of California and the leaders of California. We the people are doing our job, working hard, raising our families and paying taxes. But the politicians are not doing their job.

FELDMAN: The first Schwarzenegger spot is short on specifics. Actually, it has none and plays like a shorter version of the actor's tonight show announcement. SCHWARZENEGGER: That the people are doing their job. The people are working hard. The people are paying the taxes.

FELDMAN: The Schwarzenegger spot is 60 seconds, long by today's standards for political ads. To buy a one-minute spot on primetime local L.A. TV will set the Schwarzenegger campaign back about $35,000. The Schwarzenegger folks won't say how much the commercials actually cost to produce.

As for effectiveness, we asked a veteran political operative and analyst.

(on camera) OK, there you have it. The very first Arnold Schwarzenegger for governor spot. What kind of grade do you give it?

ALLAN HOFFENBLUM, EDITOR, CALIFORNIA TARGET BOOK: Very Reaganesque. So I'm going to give it an A, at least an A minus.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I will work honestly without fear or favor to do what is right for all Californians.

FELDMAN (voice-over): The question is, will he say in future ads just how he plans to do that?

Charles Feldman, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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