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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Look at Politics in California

Aired February 24, 2004 - 11:17   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We go back to our political news now. Today marks the 100th day in office for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. To talk about that, what he's accomplished, how he's doing we bring in Dick Rosengarten, he is the editor of "California Political Week," a newsletter specializing in the state's campaigns and election. And he's joining us from our Los Angeles bureau this morning.
Dick, good morning.

DICK ROSENGARTEN, EDITOR, "CALIFORNIA POLITICAL WEEK": Good morning. Busy morning.

KAGAN: It is a busy morning. Let's go ahead and start with the breaking news. The president coming out and saying he will go ahead and support a ban on gay marriage to be added to -- as a constitutional amendment. This is a controversy that Governor Schwarzenegger stepped in within the last week.

ROSENGARTEN: Yes, it is. And if you want to blame somebody for what President Bush did, I say blame the attorney general of California.

KAGAN: How's that?

ROSENGARTEN: And the reason is when Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco, started issuing marriage licenses over a week and a half ago, that's when the attorney general of California should have stepped in, right away, and gone to a court to stop it because Proposition 22, which is not in our Constitution, but it's a statute, says that marriage is between a man and woman.

So, you know what Lockyer is doing is he's going to the supreme court this Friday. Well that's about ten days too late.

KAGAN: OK. So you think the attorney general -- state attorney general's a little slow on the uptake. But what about Governor Schwarzenegger? He has come out...

ROSENGARTEN: Oh, he was right on the issue. You know he said that he supports civil union, domestic partnership. But he believes that the -- you know, that the people of California have spoken with Prop 22 which defines marriage as between a man and woman.

So, you know, I -- and there was a little bit of a back and forth between Lockyer and Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger wrote him a letter saying, come on let's get with it. Lockyer said don't tell me what to do But I think that's all been ironed out now.

But like I said, Attorney General Lockyer's been very, very slow in taking this up.

KAGAN: All right, well let's go ahead and focus back on the governor here. One hundred. days in office. A lot of people thought well that was fun. You did a cute little campaign there, Arnold, but wait until you play with the big boys in here Sacramento. Sounds like he is charming a lot of the opposition.

ROSENGARTEN: The thing that's most important is that he's accomplished a lot in his first 100 days. But actually if you look at what's happened, the first 30 days is where most of the action took place. You know, he repealed the driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, rolled back the vehicle license fee, he put up his budget, he got this Proposition 57 and 58 on the ballot.

But since that time it sort of slow down a little bit. You know he's still working on workers' compensation, which is a very big issue. He wants to renegotiate with the Indians who have the casinos. And he wants to renegotiate some pacts with the state employees, particularly the prison guards.

KAGAN: Yes, out time is really short here. So I want to just move look forward here because if this was a casino, the governor's putting all the chips down on Tuesday with these propositions. Explain to our viewers who aren't in California how much is on the line for Governor Schwarzenegger .

ROSENGARTEN: Oh Prop 57 is everything. I mean, state is in a fiscal meltdown right now. And Schwarzenegger is saying -- Governor Schwarzenegger is saying that unless the people pass Proposition 57, which is a $15 billion bond to bail out, you know, California, from its debt, that the world is going to collapse.

Now there are those who don't see it that way. Conservative Republicans, and a lot very liberal Democrats. But Schwarzenegger's been very, very persuasive. He's been out on the stump with the Democratic Controller Steve Wesley and very recently with Dianne Feinstein. You're going to start seeing ads this week, probably starting today, with Dianne Feinstein pitching yes on 57.

KAGAN: Interesting time for politics in California. Our time is short just because of our breaking news. I'm going to invite you right now, we're doing our show from Los Angeles on Super Tuesday. We'll have to have you stop by next week.

ROSENGARTEN: OK, great.

KAGAN: Dick, thank you so much. Dick Rosengarten, appreciate it.

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