The Note

Although the Los Angeles Times has a debate of its own on the horizon, the editorial board calls tomorrow's fast approaching exchange, "the highlight of the special election campaign." The ed board goes on to assign homework to the candidates (as if those 12 questions weren't enough) by urging them to focus on the economy, immigration, gambling, and their ability to work with legislators. We got a glimpse of how Arnold Schwarzenegger feels about the Los Angeles Times from his O'Reilly appearance. Today, we get some insight into how the paper feels about Mr. Schwarzenegger. LINK

"Note to Schwarzenegger: Hollywood rules do not apply in this gubernatorial debate. Candid does not mean avoiding the responsibility of past statements by saying you 'made it up.'"

California recall, the governor:

Governor Davis has a new ad too.

ABC News' Singh reports: An advertisement from the Davis camp entitled "Plus" runs alongside "Circus" beginning tomorrow in San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, Chico and Bakersfield. It will run for an undetermined amount of time and may expand to other markets.

"Plus" is a 30 second spot which features anti-recall arguments such as the loss of experienced and influential leaders, a winner representing a small minority, doubts concerning the winner's qualifications to head up the world's fifth largest economy and the political chaos-such as deadlock in the state legislature- that could result if Davis is voted out of office.

California recall, the Democrat:

Dan Morain of the Los Angeles Times writes up yesterday's court decision stating Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante broke campaign finance laws by accepting $4 million worth of donations in amounts that well exceeded the $21,200 contribution limit. However, the decision is expected to have little practical effect. LINK

"Richie Ross, Bustamante's campaign strategist, said McMaster's comments 'removed a dark cloud' that had been hanging over Bustamante's campaign."

"And he said the judge's order would have little effect on the race, largely because Bustamante had ceased the practice that was the focus of the lawsuit."

"'We would certainly return any money that we have,' Ross said."

"How much is left?"

"'None,' Ross said, indicating that virtually all of it had been spent on the television ads, which began airing a week ago today."

We look forward to seeing how Arianna Huffington handles this in tomorrow's debate.

The San Francisco Chronicle's story has Sean Walsh describing the money as "ill gotten booty." LINK

Charlie LeDuff of the New York Times covered the Bustamante court case too. LINK

Politics: The New York Times on the health care mammoth that is the American Association of Health Plans. (All we can ask is, will the AAHP have offices as nice as those of the MPAA?) The Note's congratulations to Karen Ignani on her new position as the association's president. LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's Tom Hamburger looks at President Bush's less-than-productive relationship with environmentalists and how it's affecting his plans, like the Clear Skies initiative. Compared to 41, Hamburger Notes, the president isn't making much headway.

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