LOS ANGELES – For Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) the candidate, movie roles follow him everywhere, even to a charter school in Fresno, Calif.
"I come here not as a 'kindergarten cop,' but as someone that loves children and loves education," the contender for the California governor's chair said Thursday, borrowing the title from one of his many films.
Schwarzenegger didn't hold any heavy policy discussions for the first- and second-graders, just advice for the future.
"Stay away from the junk food you see in the machines somewhere, and train hard. Stay away from drugs, stay away from alcohol, stay away from smoking," he said.
The message was a bit more complicated in Sacramento (search) on Thursday, where Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (search) decried spikes in gas prices, denounced corporate greed and pushed for something no state has ever tried -- full regulation of gasoline supplies and prices.
"Californians are being gouged," Bustamante said while standing outside a gas station. "I will tell you something that's true, but the oil companies never say. Their profit margin in California is the highest in the nation."
Bustamante has already proposed $8 billion in tax increases on business property, cigarettes, alcohol and personal vehicles that cost more than $20,000.
"Cruz Bustamante is running, as some would say, as a '60s or '70s Democrat," said Fox News political analyst Susan Estrich.
Bustamante is the liberal answer to the question at the heart of the recall -- how are the candidates fundamentally going to change California. But Bustamante's best poll numbers still show him with only a third of the vote.
"When there is one Democrat on the ballot and 45 percent of the state is Democratic, you would expect that Democrat to be doing better than Cruz is," Estrich said.
Bustamante also refused to renounce a Latino separatist group known as MEChA. The Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan seeks to reclaim much of the American Southwest for Mexico. Bustamante was a member of the group during his days at Fresno State in the early 1970s.
"The students who are in MEChA today are just like the students when I was there, pretty much they are trying to get an education," Bustamante said. "I think the actuality of what takes place in those organizations is to provide student leadership ... That's how I got here today."
In San Diego, former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth told voters he's the subtle savior.
"I'm a leader. I am a businessman, I am a problem solver. But I can't tell you how to solve the state's problems in a sound bite. I can't do it," he said.
With Bustamante pushing for higher taxes and more regulations, Schwarzenegger is eager to prove he's the taxpayers' friend. He got some help Thursday when the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association formally endorsed Schwarzenegger. The group is famous for creating Proposition 13, the Holy Grail that lowered property taxes in the state in 1978.
But with tax-opponent credentials in hand, Schwarzenegger still has to fend off critics who complain that Proposition 49, the after-school program Schwarzenegger championed last election, relies too heavily on the state budget and doesn't provide a new funding source.
The $550 million initiative passed by voters last November relies on the state's general fund, not education funding and requires no new taxes, but opponents say it is poorly calculated.
"I believe personally that it raises serious questions about what the policies of a Schwarzenegger administration would be, if this initiative is so fiscally irresponsible," said Nancy Strohl, executive director of the Child Care Law Center.
Money is to be transferred automatically to the programs, without legislative action, when the noneducation portion of the budget grows by at least $1.5 billion over its highest level in the previous four years.
State funding for the initiative may not be available before 2007, three years beyond initial projections, because of state budget woes, analysts said. It means families of about 3.7 million kids without access to after-school programs must wait.
Schwarzenegger campaign spokesman Sean Walsh blamed Gov. Gray Davis for the delay.
The governor "inherited a multibillion-dollar surplus and turned it into a whopping deficit," Walsh said.
Fox News' Major Garrett and The Associated Press contributed to this report.