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On The Scene

Bob Franken: 'The handwriting was on the wall'

CNN National Correspondent Bob Franken
CNN National Correspondent Bob Franken

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On the Scene
Bob Franken
California Recall

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- California voters awoke to a new political reality Wednesday -- the ouster of Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and the election of Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger as his replacement.

Davis proved gracious and seemingly relaxed in his concession speech. CNN national correspondent Bob Franken spoke to CNN anchor Carol Costello about the outcome of the recall race. The following is an edited transcript:

FRANKEN: In retrospect, now we can say that the handwriting was on the wall.

Here, we have a candidate who was extremely unpopular. I mean, (Davis) was going to have to overcome tremendous personal distaste that he had developed (among) the voters of California. And he was just not able to do that.

Of course, he had this outlandish, outlandish recall campaign, and that's the only way to describe it -- made more outlandish by the entrance of the actor, born in Austria, who was known for his "Terminator" movies. And I'm going to avoid all of the "Terminator" puns that we've been making over the last several weeks.

But (Schwarzenegger) is now going to have to see if he can take his act to Sacramento and enter this new political theater.

COSTELLO: Yes, because he's going to have a tough job ahead, because most in the state legislature are liberal Democrats.

FRANKEN: Well, that's just the start. First of all, he said that it's time for an end to partisan politics. And I'm going to make a prediction: No, it's not. There is going to be a tremendous surge of partisan politics after everybody smiles sweetly and goes through a transition, which itself can be a bit rocky.

Then comes the reality, as you pointed out, a Democrat legislature. He also has raised expectations that he's going to somehow see to it that taxes can be controlled, and yet the budget mess, which is a huge budget mess, can be controlled also, in a state where just about everything is really decided by proposition.

They have this form of government which dates back about 92 years. It's where the recall movement began, which also allows this direct democracy, which was not what the founders of the United States in the Constitution envisioned. They envisioned something of a representative democracy, where the people whom they elected would go in finite terms and then do their job.

What you had in California was a polite, even though raucous, revolution.

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