Arianna Huffington Reacts to the Recall Debate

Published September 25, 2003

| FoxNews.com

This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, September 24, 2003.

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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST:  Here's where the candidates stood [in the latest poll] tonight before the debate. According to the Public Policy Institute of California (search), Cruz Bustamante (search) had 28 percent of voter's support.  Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) had 26 percent. Tom McClintock (search) had 14 percent and Arianna Huffington (search) had two percent.

Arianna Huffington joins us live from Sacramento.  Welcome Arianna.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, CANDIDATE FOR CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR:  Thank you Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Arianna, what's going on between you and Arnold Schwarzenegger?  I mean I couldn't help but see - I mean for lack of a better word, I describe it as a food fight between the two of you.  What's going on?

HUFFINGTON:  Well I believe that it was very important for me both to talk about what I wanted to fort the state of California, which centers very much around the need to break the stronghold of special interests money and introduce an initiative, which I'm filing tomorrow morning here in Sacramento for public financing of campaigns.  But also to really help California people learn who Arnold Schwarzenegger truly is because he started this campaign, as you know Greta, pretending to be an Independent and surrounded himself with the entire Pete Wilson political hat to him.

Then he claimed that he would not take any special interest money because he was wealthy enough to fund his own campaign.  And he has so far raised other $8 million in special interest money from big businesses...

(CROSSTALK)

HUFFINGTON:  ... banking, insurance companies.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Arianna, at one point you said something and it was hard for me to catch the remark, but I'll describe as a crack, something about treating women.  What was that all about?

HUFFINGTON:  Well what happened is that he interrupted me repeatedly and would not give way, which is kind of amazing because surely there's a spirited debate and we all were talking and interrupting, but if somebody went on, we pulled back and waited for our turn.  He didn't do that, and then that is really the most amazing thing.  He actually came back with a comment where he said to me that he had a part for me in Terminator IV.  Now I don't know if you know what that means, but he - in Terminator III took a woman's head and stuck it into a toilet and then told a magazine that that was a great thing, that how many times, he said, do you get the opportunity to stick a woman's head in a toilet?  So that's what he has for me in Terminator IV, that was a slightly strange comment to make, but the good news is if he thinks he's making Terminator IV, he doesn't really think he's going to be governor.

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right.  Well I guess I missed that.  We'll be reference -- I'll have to check out the movie.  All right.  The debate tonight, the format, I actually liked the format with the crosstalk.  Did you or do you think that was effective, good for the California voters?

HUFFINGTON:  Yes, I loved the format.  I thought it was great to be able to really have a spirited discussion, to be able to come in and basically try and push a candidate to be a little more open about what they are saying.  And Schwarzenegger didn't really do that very well because he still refused to give us very many specifics about what he would cut or whether he would raise taxes.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Arianna, so eventually you keep going back to Arnold Schwarzenegger.  I mean what about - I mean he's not your only opponent.  But from the way you talk it sounds like in your mind he is.  You've got state Senator Tom McClintock who's also a strong opponent.  Why Arnold Schwarzenegger and not McClintock?

HUFFINGTON:  Well, you know, first of all, Tom McClintock is really (UNINTELLIGIBLE) incredibly clear in terms of where he stands.  There's no fudging there.  There's no dissembling.  The problem with Schwarzenegger is the dissembling.  As for Cruz Bustamante, you now I've had three other debates with him, so I have actually spoken a lot about the problems with Cruz.  I was the first one, you know, in the first debate to describe what he is doing as legalized bribery.  It turned out that that was too charitable in a court two days ago declared his taking the money from the Indians (UNINTELLIGIBLE) then trying to get around the injunction by putting it in a committee against public support was illegal.  So it was illegalized bribery and yet, he's continuing to fund the ads that are now on the air and is refusing to pull them out.  So, absolutely, I've gone after Cruz Bustamante...

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right. 

(CROSSTALK)

HUFFINGTON:  Really, Cruz Bustamante and Arnold Schwarzenegger are both special interest candidates.

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right, Arianna, always nice to see you.  Thank you for joining us.

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