Sources: Arnold Taps Riordan for 'Issues Team'

Published August 09, 2003

| FoxNews.com

Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger has tapped former Los Angeles Mayor Dick Riordan to create an "issues team" made up of experts on California policy to help his campaign develop specific proposals, Fox News has learned.

Two Republican sources very close to the Schwarzenegger campaign told Fox Saturday that Riordan has been asked to create the issues team as the campaign struggles to add specific proposals to Schwarzenegger's "clean house" message.

"We're trying to pull it together know," a source close to the campaign told Fox. "We're not there yet. Everything is moving quickly. But it will take some time."

There is no schedule for Riordan to introduce the issues team or for it to present its proposals to Schwarzenegger for consideration. Riordan and Schwarzenegger have spoken almost daily since the international film star entered the race to replace Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and Riordan is said to be eager to assist Schwarzenegger, despite being taken completely by surprise by his candidacy.

The Schwarzenegger campaign is also developing a strategy to address criticism that the actor lacks the experience necessary to govern the nation's most populous state.

Advisers hope Schwarzenegger will be able to keep the focus in the coming days on Davis's lack of leadership and continue to drive home the need for the recall to succeed. This strategy, they hope, will give the campaign precious time to develop a limited number of specific proposals to address the state's budget crisis and sagging economy.

The campaign does not intend to offer comprehensive proposals on all statewide issues, but to develop credible proposals for three or four key issues.

Schwarzenegger advisers know Davis will fight the recall aggressively and still consider Davis a formidable opponent. Davis is known for hardball political tactics and has one huge advantage in his favor: There is no spending limit on the recall election and no limit on the amount of contributions that can be made in the recall campaign.

Republicans anticipate that Davis — a prodigious political fund-raiser — will spend upwards of $20 million to defeat the recall question.

Schwarzenegger advisers are also investigating whether to establish two separate campaign committees. One would support the recall of Davis. That committee would not be subject to any contribution limits from individuals or committtees. The other campaign would be for Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial candidacy.

Under California law, candidates on the replacement ballot can receive no more than $21,200 from an individual or a group.

Also, California law imposes no limits on candidates financing their own campaigns. Schwarzenegger and fellow Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon have vast fortunes they could call upon to bankroll their campaigns.

Under California law, the recall must pass with a majority vote before Davis can be recalled. If Davis is recalled, the candidate on the replacement ballot who receives the most votes becomes governor.

Fox News' Major Garrett contributed to this report.

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