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Davis looks to Clinton for help

Davis spoke with CNN's Kelly Wallace on Saturday.
Davis spoke with CNN's Kelly Wallace on Saturday.

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SANTA MONICA, California (CNN) -- California Gov. Gray Davis has asked former President Bill Clinton to help him retain his position ahead of the state's October recall vote.

In an exclusive interview Saturday with CNN's Kelly Wallace, Davis said he has sought regular advice from Clinton, but has not formally asked for his assistance until now.

"If you can come to California and help make the case that a recall is really an insult to the 8 million people who took the time to vote last November," Davis requested.

"It'll cost $70 million because nobody was planning to have an election ... and that money comes out of funds that would otherwise support education, health care and public safety."

Davis also blasted his most famous challenger, saying Arnold Schwarzenegger was unqualified for the position.

"He clearly doesn't have very much experience in public life, and I can tell you that recycling old lines from movies only gets you so far," the governor said.

On October 7, California's 15 million registered voters will have the chance to vote yes or no on the recall question and then use the same ballot to select their choice for a replacement. If the recall succeeds, the job of serving out the remaining three-and-a-half years of Davis' second term will go to whomever wins the most votes.

Davis denied that his camp had tried to prevent any Democrats from entering the race, in an effort to defeat the recall.

"I haven't asked a single person not to get in the race," Davis said. "I believe my focus is on the first question on the ballot, which is whether Governor Davis should be retained.

"People can get in the race, they can get out of the race, that is their choice."

Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, a Democrat, decided to join the race even though he has said he opposes the recall.

Davis said he was unfairly being blamed by voters who supported the recall vote.

"The root of our problems is in Washington. The national economy has hemorrhaged almost three million jobs," he said.

"That's why 47 states have budget difficulties and if I was the only person doing something wrong, then 46 other states would be in tall cotton, but they're not, given the state of the national economy.

"When times are good as they were two or three years ago, I was in the 60 percent range in approval rating and people said the thing we like about this governor the most is the great economy," he told CNN.

"Well, now the flip side is true, I probably didn't deserve all the credit initially, and I may not deserve all the blame now, it comes with the territory."

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