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Inside Politics

Schwarzenegger offers 100-day plan

Poll shows growing support for recall

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CNN's Bob Franken looks at the latest polls in the California race.
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Arianna Huffington tells CNN's Larry King she is quitting the recall race.
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CNN's Candy Crowley on Davis making another poor poll showing -- and Huffington's exit.
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California Recall
Cruz Bustamante
Gray Davis
Arnold Schwarzenegger

SAN FRANCISCO, California (CNN) -- Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger vowed Wednesday that if elected his first move as California governor would be to repeal the state's car tax, and a new poll showed him gaining momentum over Democratic Gov. Gray Davis for Tuesday's recall vote.

Fleshing out a campaign that had been short on specifics, Schwarzenegger laid out a plan for his first 100 days as governor that besides the car tax repeal includes steps to freeze spending and audit the state budget.

"In this year's budget alone, there are more special effects than in 'Terminator 3,' 'Lord of the Rings' and 'Matrix' combined," the movie star-turned-politician told a rally of political supporters.

"The real question is, 'What would the first 100 days of the Davis administration do?' I can tell you: more failure, more lost jobs, more power to special interests, more, more, more of the same thing."

Schwarzenegger also vowed to streamline educational programs and roll back pension increases for state employees, and the audience gave him a standing ovation when he promised to repeal a law allowing illegal immigrants to receive state driver's licenses.

He left the stage to the strains of his new campaign theme song, Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It."

The unpopular car tax, which took effect Wednesday, tripled registration fees for many California drivers.

The increase was part of Davis' plan to try to close the state's budget deficit, but the public anger it provoked helped boost the recall against him.

In the wake of a Los Angeles Times poll showing his campaign slipping, Davis released a new radio ad featuring former President Clinton and appeared in Los Angeles alongside the newest Democratic presidential contender, former NATO commander Wesley Clark.

The embattled governor also stands to benefit from the withdrawal from the race of independent Arianna Huffington, who is urging her supporters to vote against the recall.

Voters in the October 7 recall will first be asked whether to recall Davis. Then, they will move to a list of 135 candidates to pick a replacement who would take over if the recall succeeds.

The Times poll, published Wednesday, showed 56 percent of likely voters support recalling Davis. Schwarzenegger led the pack of potential replacements with the support of 40 percent of likely voters.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante trailed Schwarzenegger with 32 percent in the poll. GOP state Sen. Tom McClintock had 15 percent.

The previous Times poll, in mid-September, found 50 percent of voters would recall Davis and 47 percent would keep him in office -- a statistical dead heat.

That poll showed Schwarzenegger trailing Bustamante by 30 percent to 25 percent, with McClintock at 18.

Wednesday's poll mirrors the trends in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released over the weekend that showed only 35 percent of probable voters would vote to keep Davis in office.

That poll showed Schwarzenegger with 40 percent support among replacement candidates, with Bustamante at 25 percent and McClintock at 18.

Huffington entered the race with much fanfare but drew less than 1 percent of likely voters' support in the most recent Times poll, taken before she dropped out of the race.

She said Tuesday night on CNN's "Larry King Live" that she would campaign against the recall with "every ounce of time and energy" in order to terminate Schwarzenegger's prospects.

She told CNN on Wednesday she realized she had no chance of being elected and that stopping Schwarzenegger was her primary goal.

The actor, Huffington said, "is a man beholden to all sorts of big business interests who are funding his campaign, has no idea how to balance the budget, and pretends to be an independent while surrounding himself with GOP hacks and [former Governor] Pete Wilson operatives."

She stopped short of endorsing any of her former rivals, saying she would urge supporters to vote "strategically."

"I want people to vote their conscience, but make sure that whatever their vote is, it does not put Schwarzenegger in the statehouse."

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