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Dean stumps for Davis in California

Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, left, California Gov. Gray Davis, right, at a briefing in Los Angeles.
Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, left, California Gov. Gray Davis, right, at a briefing in Los Angeles.

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California Recall
Howard Dean

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Presidential candidate Howard Dean Saturday urged Californians to vote against the effort to oust Gov. Gray Davis, calling it part of a plan by right-wing Republicans to subvert democracy.

"I think this is the fourth attempt to undermine democracy in this country by the right wing of the Republican Party since the 2000 elections," said Dean.

Other examples, he said, were the refusal by the "conservative-dominated United States Supreme Court" to order a recount of the votes in Florida during the 2000 presidential election and separate GOP-led redistricting efforts in Colorado and Texas that could result in a loss of seats currently held by Democrats.

"I believe the right wing of the Republican Party is deliberately undermining the democratic underpinnings of this country," Dean told a news conference.

"I believe they do not care what Americans think and they do not accept the legitimacy of our elections and have now, for the fourth time in the fourth state, attempted to do what they can to remove democracy from America."

Davis expressed optimism that the voters would allow him to serve out his term.

"This recall is nothing more than an attempt by Republicans financed by the right wing to steal an election they could not win. They lost fair and square and, I believe, at the end of the day, voters will do the right thing."

Although Davis expressed gratitude for Dean's support, he did not reciprocate when asked whether he would support Dean's bid for the Democratic nomination for president.

"I'm taking one election at a time," he said.

Only after the October 7 recall vote will he decide whom to support for the Democratic presidential nomination, Davis said. But, he added about the former Vermont governor, "he has precisely the right experience to be president."

The recall effort picked up steam when, shortly after he was elected to a second term as governor last year, Californians were told they faced a $38 billion deficit.

Dean said it would be unfair to hold Davis wholly responsible for the state's budget deficit, which has since been pared to $8 billion.

"The deficit that was incurred last year is directly traceable to the president of the United States' extraordinary financial policy in which he managed to turn the largest surplus in the history of America into the largest deficit in the history of America in only two-and-a-half years," he said.

Davis said that since George W. Bush became president, the country has lost 3.3 million jobs, equivalent to 3,500 jobs per day. (Full story)

Asked whether his presidential bid might be adversely affected by his support for Davis, Dean responded, "I don't care. My trademark is I say what I think, for better or for worse."

He added, "I'm tired of having this country run by the right wing. That is not where most people are in this country, and I think we ought not to put up with this anymore."

Asked whether he believed the White House was involved in the effort to unseat Davis, Dean said, "Absolutely. I think [Bush chief political adviser] Karl Rove and George Bush have their hand in this."

The White House has said it is not involved in the race.

Although Dean is the first of the nine Democratic presidential candidates to stump for Davis, all have signed a letter opposing the recall effort and others will soon follow Dean's lead, Davis predicted. In addition, former President Clinton will travel to California in the next week to 10 days to speak in support of Davis, he said.

The recall cleared a significant legal hurdle this week when a three judge panel refused to block the election. (Full story)

A simple majority will decide October 7 whether Davis is recalled. If he is, a plurality of votes will determine his successor from 135 candidates whose names will appear on the ballot. The winner of that race will quickly become governor.

Schwarzenegger asked not to attend parade

Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican candidate for governor of California, said Saturday he has been asked not to attend Sunday's Mexican Independence Day Parade.

"I was looking forward to being with so many of my friends in the Mexican-American community to celebrate Mexico and its culture," a statement from Schwarzenegger said. "Unfortunately, it seems that the politicians have gotten involved and I have been uninvited."

Schwarzenegger said he was invited to participate in the parade in letters and e-mails sent before and after he announced his candidacy for the October 7 recall election. The group organizing the parade, the Comite Mexicano Civico Patriotico, refused to rescind its invitation in writing, Schwarzenegger said, but "verbally requested" Saturday that he not attend.

The committee could not be reached for comment Saturday evening.

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