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Whether it's paddling out with surfing legend Laird Hamilton, running for governor in a pre-meltdown California, or eating breakfast with Rudy Giuliani on the morning of September 11, 2001, Bill Simon has a knack for being in the middle of the action.

In 2002, Bill Simon won the Republican primary for California's gubernatorial race before losing to Gray Davis in the general election. (A year later Davis was booted from office in the historic recall election that ushered in the Schwarzenegger era.)

As he did for Rudy Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign, Simon often serves as policy guru to high profile candidates.'s Ted Balaker sat down with Simon to discuss Giuliani, the future of the GOP, California politics, Los Angeles' charter school revolution, and more.

Just under 8 minutes. Producer is Ted Balaker, Director of Photography is Alex Manning, and field producers are Adam Hawk Jensen and Paul Detrick.