The Note

The Los Angeles Times team also has Arianna Huffington "reconsidering her role in the race" and Peter Camejo understanding why his supporters may want to vote for Cruz Bustamante.

The poll lands Arnold on the cover of both New York tabloids: LINK and LINK

The San Francisco Chronicle's Carla Marinucci reports that it's getting ugly out there. LINK

"The recall election took a sharper tone Sunday as Gov. Gray Davis' campaign released another ad blasting Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Republican actor-turned-candidate returned fire, calling the frenzied final full week ahead 'hand-to-hand combat.'"

Congressman Dreier sounding so very 2000: "'I've had a front-row seat to see what (Davis) has done to our state,' he said. 'Gray Davis has had his chance. He hasn't led, and Arnold will.'"

Ms. Marinucci also gets the Davis team to do the "we told you so" thing.

"'Bustamante is falling like a rock,' South said. 'His debate performance was weak, his campaign has been weak, and he's not setting the world on fire.'"

"But Richie Ross, Bustamante's political consultant, defended Bustamante, saying 'We didn't create the circumstances where Davis could be recalled. We filed to give Democrats a good alternative.'"

"'It's a little early for the blame game,' he said. 'We're doing the very best we can, and we think Cruz has done a terrific job of mobilizing Latino voters and giving Democrats a very responsible alternative in the event that they are not successful in defeating the recall.'"

"Promising deliverance without sacrifice and a balanced budget without tax increases, Mr. Schwarzenegger made it clear that he considered the recall race in its final days to have boiled down to two choices: himself and Mr. Davis." LINK

USA Today 's John Ritter surveys the scene in light of the new USA TODAY /CNN/Gallup poll. LINK

"California voters are ready to fire Gov. Gray Davis and replace him with actor and political novice Arnold Schwarzenegger, a USA TODAY /CNN/Gallup Poll finds."

Robert Salladay of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that the ballot's format may give rise to the "strategic voter." LINK

"For years, political junkies have been stalking the slippery "strategic voter," someone who views elections more like chess than checkers. They vote against a candidate instead of for their favorite, pick weak opponents in open primaries and leave parts of ballots blank to make a statement."

"But while this type of voter is considered rare, the two-part recall election is opening up new arenas for strategic thinkers."

More Salladay: "But going to the polls Oct. 7, voters may face several questions in their own minds. What if the Republican-backed effort to oust the state's leading Democrat ended up electing the state's second most prominent Democrat? Should the GOP vote against the recall in that case, as Issa briefly recommended?"

"If Bustamante does well in the home stretch, will Democrats be more inclined to vote "yes" thinking the party is safe? Will hard-core Bustamante supporters be more likely to oust Davis, even though Bustamante is encouraging people to vote "no" on the recall?"

Yes, it's true, there's a reference to thong underwear in the New York Times piece on archiving recall campaign memorabilia. (We don't make this up, folks, we just write about it … ) LINK

The increased "car tax" takes effect this week. LINK

California recall, Arnold:

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