Columnist Arianna Huffington tells MSNBC she’s joining the race to replace California Gov. Gray Davis, saying she wants to “break the hold of special interests.”
updated 8/8/2003 7:33:17 AM ET 2003-08-08T11:33:17

She’s challenging “The Terminator” to run for governor of California, but how is she going to do it? Arianna Huffington joined ‘Buchanan and Press’ Thursday to share her campaign plan.

PAT BUCHANAN, HOST: how are you doing, and what did you think of the day Arnold had yesterday?

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, CANDIDATE FOR CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: A lot of people were saying that Dick Riordan was surprised, right, because the day before he called me to wish me well in my announcement. He and I have been friends and to say that he was very seriously considering jumping in on Thursday after Arnold pulled out. So, I don’t think this is just advisors who are missing out on the gravy train. It seems that Arnold really made his decision at the last minute yesterday.

BUCHANAN: I had heard, Arianna, from one of Arnold’s advisors who said that their read is that he actually made the decision in the limousine going over to the green room before he went on the show. That’s when he made the final decision. How can you overcome someone who’s not only got fame and money, but incredible excitement and all this publicity attended to “The Terminator”? How do you overcome that in 60 days?

HUFFINGTON: You know the power of populace campaigns and that’s the kind of campaign I’m running. If you go to our Web site,, you see the energy that has been unleashed. You know the offers of volunteer help, the donations. It’s going to be a very different campaign. I wouldn’t run any conventional campaign.

I said in my announcement yesterday, I’m going to run the kind of campaign I’ve been dreaming about— the kind of campaign I’ve been writing about in columns and books. I’m going to conduct no polls, I’m going to run no negative ads. I’m going to put not a penny of my own money into the race. I want to produce a template for how modern campaigns can be run. And if I don’t get the popular enthusiasm that I’m getting now, there would be no point in being in it.

BILL PRESS, HOST: Congratulations for jumping in. But let me ask you, I know you spoke out and wrote very strongly against the recall as not a proper process and now you’re jumping into it. I mean isn’t that a confusing message that you’re sending to people?

HUFFINGTON: No, not if you read the column, because I had three paragraphs at the end of the column where I said but if the recall prevails, that is before we knew whether it would— it is an incredible, unprecedented opportunity to elect a progressive independent leader. You now how hard it is for a progressive to be elected when the two parties fight it out in a conventional election.

Here because somebody will be elected with the simple plurality, you can actually win. You can have an independent like myself in Sacramento. And as you see, the response to Arnold’s candidacy, which it is not just about celebrity, it’s also about just how sick and tired people are with politics as usual and Gray Davis is the poster child of special interests. I mean he’s brought enormous passion, ingenuity and time to fund raising.

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