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Former California Democratic Governor Gray Davis was recalled in 2003, and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Analysts say Schwarzenegger's name recognition and celebrity helped fuel his rise, but Davis says he sees major differences between Schwarzenegger's political success and Donald Trump.
Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson speaks with Davis, who is supporting Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential race.
Interview Highlights: Gray Davis
On why he’s supporting Hillary Clinton
"I think she’s the best person running for office to lead this country and lead the free world. A secretary of state a, former senator, a First Lady of the United States. She's been a part of change when she was not even in public office, and a part of change as a US Senator working with both sides of the aisle, something we desperately need going forward. And obviously she has the respect of world leaders given her tenure as secretary of state, so I can't remember a more qualified person running for president in the last 30 years."
On the possibility of Hillary losing California
"It would be nice to win. It would be an exclamation point on this campaign, generate momentum going into the convention. But if she doesn’t win, the reality on the ground stays the same. All of us look forward to working with Bernie Sanders and his dedicated team and his millions of followers because we all agree on one thing: Donald Trump should not be the next president."
"The American people realize this is a big choice. It’s like one candidate is heading north and the other is heading south."Gray Davis
On whether Sanders should drop out of the race after the California primary
"I'm not going to make decisions for Bernie Sanders. I'm sure he's exceeded his expectations, he’s certainly exceeded the expectations of the pundits. He's got a lot of people enthusiastic and coming out to vote. That's a great thing for him but also a great thing for the party. And just as those of us who supported Hiliary in 2008 fell in line and were happy to be part of the effort to elect President Obama, I expect virtually all of the Sanders voters will eventually come on board (with Clinton)."
On whether or not Trump could win in the general election
"No, for two reasons. He has the benefit of starting to consolidate his party, that hasn't happened yet in the Democratic party, and may not happen until we get to the convention. But the good news is, the conventions are a month earlier this time, which means you have 90 days to put the party back together. And again, going back to my support for Hillary in 2008, there were a lot of wounded feelings, we didn’t feel terrific the day after she pulled out, but over time we got on board, we got enthusiastic about President Obama, one of the best speakers in American history, and he did a wonderful job as President of the United States for eight years. I’m optimistic, and expect that virtually all of the Sanders voters will get behind Hilary."
On parallels between Trump and Arnold Schwarzenegger, two entertainers-turned-politicians
"You can't discount the importance of celebrity. But they're two entirely different personalities. Schwarzenegger’s politics were actually quite close to mine. He asked me several times after I left office to assist him on various initiatives he was for or against. It was easier for me to say yes because I felt the same way he did on those same issues, whether it was the environment or public safety or public health we bonded together. Obviously, I can't see myself doing that with Donald Trump. So Donald Trump is moving in a totally different direction and while they're both celebrities, the American people realize this is a big choice. It’s like one candidate is heading north and the other is heading south."
This segment aired on June 7, 2016.
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