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The surprise announcement on Wednesday by the ``Terminator'' actor, a moderate Republican, capped a day of fast-paced developments in one of the most unpredictable political races in recent history.
A few hours later, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante announced he plans to run in the recall election, becoming the first prominent Democrat to abandon Mr. Davis' efforts to keep fellow party members off the ballot. His aides declined to elaborate on his announcement. Earlier, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who tops polls as California's most popular politician, had ruled out a run, labelling the election ``more and more like a carnival every day.'' And the political commentator, Arianna Huffington, declared she would run as an independent.
Mr. Schwarzenegger (56), announced his decision during a taping of TV talk show ``The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,'' calling it the toughest he's made since deciding to get a bikini wax in 1978.
``The politicians are fiddling, fumbling and failing,'' he said. ``The man that is failing the people more than anyone is Gray Davis. He is failing them terribly, and this is why he needs to be recalled and this is why I am going to run for Governor.''
Mr. Schwarzenegger's advisers had said in recent days that he was leaning against putting his name on the Oct. 7 election ballot because of opposition from his wife, Maria Shriver, who is a niece of the former President, John F. Kennedy, and the Democratic Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
Mr. Schwarzenegger said he's not afraid of Mr. Davis' allies attacking him as ``a womaniser'' or ``a terrible person.''
``I know that they're going to throw everything at me,'' he said.
Mr. Davis' campaign committee responded by saying Mr. Schwarzenegger was merely the latest in a long list of people who have declared their intent to run, noting that the Hustler publisher, Larry Flynt, is among them. AP
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