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Total Recall: California’s Political Circus

It reads like a movie script. The year? 2003. The mission? Defeat hundreds of challengers to save the state of California and become its leader. But this wasn't a movie... it was a real-life election for governor that featured adult film stars, sumo wrestlers, comedians, and ended with the election of action star Arnold Schwarzenegger. In Total Recall: California’s Political Circus, CNN’s Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash will unpack the scandal, partisanship, and celebrity of the Golden State’s 2003 recall election – and explore what it might have forecasted about politics today.

Arnold Schwarzenegger circa 2003 is against a neon background containing the Hollywood sign and palm trees

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Bombshells and Damage Control
Total Recall: California’s Political Circus
Sep 29, 2021

Less than a week before the recall election, it seemed as though Arnold Schwarzenegger was sailing toward a smooth and definitive victory – but of course, what’s an election without an October Surprise? And in this case, more than one. It was five days of bombshells -- reported allegations of groping, sexual harassment, and comments about Hitler sent the Schwarzenegger campaign into damage control. In this episode, we’ll walk you through the wild final days of the election and how Schwarzenegger managed to come out on the other end unscathed and victorious.