Today's Papers

Beyond Recall

Everybody leads with the aftermath of California’s recall election and details on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first day as the state’s governor-elect. In his first news conference since unseating Gov. Gray Davis, the man formerly known as the Terminator largely held off on any substantive announcements, opting to repeat campaign promises instead. Among other things, he reaffirmed his pledge not to raise taxes and to repeal car-tax hikes. He also strongly hinted that he will hit up President Bush for federal aid to help cover the state’s ballooning budget deficits. “I look forward to asking him for a lot, a lot of favors,” Schwarzenegger said.

Most of today’s coverage can be summed up in two words: Now what? Nobody seems to have gotten the specifics they were looking for from Schwarzenegger’s 25-minute presser yesterday, and the dissatisfaction shows in many headlines (“VERDICT IS CLEAR. WHAT ISN’T: HOW HE WILL GOVERN,” USA Today says on Page One) and in a good number of ledes. As the Washington Post reports up high, Arnold “offered no details of his plans for governing the nation’s most populous state.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, Schwarzenegger did promise to release a detailed budget blueprint “in the very near future” after an independent audit of the state’s books. Yesterday, the incoming governor hinted that the budget deficit may be much worse than expected, maybe as large as $20 billion. Whatever the number is, it’s sure to get worse if Arnold does repeal the car tax, the WP notes. As the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, the car tax generates around $4 billion in revenue a year. Under questioning yesterday, Schwarzenegger declined to specifically say how he might make that revenue up—telling reporters that his advisers are “looking into” the issue.

The actor-turned-politician also announced that he won’t be making any more movies, at least not while he’s governor. “The people of California want me to be the governor, and I will do that and nothing else,” Schwarzenegger said. “There will be no time for movies or anything else. I will pay full attention to this job. I take this job very seriously.” (Thankfully, er, sadly, this means movie-goers won’t be seeing Arnold in Joe’s Last Chance, a buddy movie that had been set to feature Schwarzenegger as an aging hitman who, surprise, finds himself befriending the man he is supposed to kill, a snarky wiseguy played by Cedric the Entertainer.) A&E Networks, however, announced yesterday that it would begin production on a TV movie based on parallels between Arnold’s campaign for governor and his bodybuilding quests of the 1970s, according to the NYT.

Everybody notes that Schwarzenegger still faces major political turmoil. While Davis has promised a “peaceful transition,” according to the LAT, everybody notes that he holed up in his office yesterday compiling legislation and appointments that he wants to move through before Arnold takes office. Furthermore, the state assembly is planning special sessions to approve Davis’ last-minute lawmaking. The New York Times reports a recall effort for Arnold is already afoot, bankrolled by wealthy Democrats.

Both USAT and the NYT this morning profile Maria Shriver, who the WP reports will soon return to her gig as a DatelineNBC reporter. By all accounts, she was Franz to Arnold’s Hans—the campaign’s secret weapon, the NYT says. While she is described as an influential adviser to her husband’s campaign, the profiles don’t touch on an obvious question: Did she condone Arnold’s limited access to the press during the campaign? One thing is clear: If she stays with NBC, she’ll be the one of the few governors’ wives to hold a paid job.

Both the NYT and LAT front, and everybody else stuffs, a follow-up on the apparent dust-up between the White House and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld over who’s in charge of Iraq’s reconstruction. In an unusually candid interview with the Financial Times, Rumsfeld “testily” said he hadn’t been consulted about the administration’s creation of a group aimed to give the White House and State Department more control over postwar Iraq. Yesterday, the White House retracted a statement saying that Rumsfeld had been fully involved in the management shake-up, though “several administration officials” tell the WP that National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice did, in fact, brief Rumsfeld last week. The friction comes as the White House steps up its public relations on Iraq to justify the invasion and occupation, the WP reports.

In related news, USAT notices that “most of Iraq,” including Baghdad, has had power for four consecutive days this week—a first since Baghdad fell in April.

Everybody writes up the discovery of a hidden bug in Philadelphia Mayor John Street’s office this week. The listening device, found during a routine security sweep on Tuesday, was planted by the FBI, according to federal officials. A source tells the WP the bug had been placed in the office as part of an “anti-corruption investigation.” Officials have declined to say if Street is the target of the investigation.

Finally, the discovery of a 400-pound tiger in a New York City apartment over the weekend might not be so unusual after all. Wildlife experts tell USAT that as many as 10,000 tigers are kept as pets in the U.S.—this, in spite of laws that regulate the ownership of such exotic pets. But leave it up to New Yorkers to focus on the most important issue at hand: How did someone manage to rent a cheap five bedroom apartment in Manhattan? “Tiger, alligator, bird—he must’ve had them on the lease,” one neighbor says.