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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Only One Debate for Arnold

Aired September 1, 2003 - 19:05   ET

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

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: While America gears up to choose a president next year, California is getting ready to decide on a governor next month.
The California recall election is getting heavy national media coverage, largely because of the candidacy of actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who says he will participate in only one debate.

Rusty Dornin spoke to Schwarzenegger today in Sacramento and has that story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So many questions. The answers seem to be always given on the run.

Here at the California state fair in Sacramento, we caught up with Arnold Schwarzenegger and asked him why he won't be answering questions at this week's candidate debate in northern California. He says he's saving himself for just one debate.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I'm looking forward to the debates. It's going to be great to be in the California Law Council's (ph), yes.

DORNIN: (on camera) Are you not going to do any of the other debates, sir?

SCHWARZENEGGER: We're going to do one great debate. And you all can bring up all the different issues. OK?

Hey, how are you?

Don't push the lady. She's from CNN.

DORNIN: Schwarzenegger is getting the big push from his fellow candidates to show up at all the debates.

PETER UEBERROTH (I), CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I commend Arnold for agreeing to a debate in a few weeks. But I'm here today to urge Arnold to join the other candidates in a debate this week.

DORNIN: When the debate question came up again later at the fairgrounds, Schwarzenegger told reporters, don't worry, he'll be addressing the issues his own way. SCHWARZENEGGER: Campaigning, get the message out there, knocking on doors, going to TV stations and radio stations, talk to the journalists. By the time I finish this campaign, you guys will be sick and tired of me. Trust me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: Rusty, some have said that Governor...

DORNIN: It seems -- until then it seems California voters and the media just can't get enough of candidate Schwarzenegger -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Rusty, it seems that Governor Gray Davis, some say, has been getting a makeover, enjoying himself, showing some flashes of personality. Any evidence there that this strategy is working for him?

DORNIN: Well, it is very -- you see the marked difference even between Schwarzenegger and Davis where Arnold Schwarzenegger is pressing the flesh and coming down into the crowds.

Gray Davis has never been that kind of candidate. He's always put himself on the podium, had the official formal press conferences and addressed the reporters from the podium.

Now he's holding town hall meetings. He's trying to get into the communities and answering voters' questions and trying to loosen up a bit. And some experts think that it may be working, that it may show that he has a human side, that he's willing to answer the people's questions and not just restrict himself to press conferences.

O'BRIEN: CNN's Rusty Dornin. Rusty, thanks.

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