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How Long With The Arnold Honeymoon Last?
Aired August 8, 2003 - 19:34 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will never arm wrestle Arnold Schwarzenegger. No matter how hard I try, I'll never lift as much weight as he does. I think it's interesting, fascinating to see who's in and who's out and, yes, I think he would be a good governor.
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ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You heard it there. So, what's the basis for President Bush's prediction about Arnold Schwarzenegger? He's clearly popular, he can clearly afford to run. So how clear is he when it comes to the issues that affect people's lives? CNN's Kelly Wallace has been piecing together what we know and she joins us tonight from Los Angeles -- Kelly.
KALLY WALLACE, CN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we don't know much about where Arnold Schwarzenegger stands on the issues, but reporters are starting to push, and observesers believe at some time the candidate will have to present specifics about exactly what he would do in the state house.
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ACTOR, RUNNING FOR GOVENOR: It is early in the morning. It's like -- not even 5:00 in the morning for me...
KELLY WALLACE (voice-over): A predawn blitz by the nation's newest political superstar taking his populous message to the morning television shows.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I know I can clean house up there.
WALLACE: But when pressed for specifics, the first time candidate is evasesive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about gay marriage?
SCHWARZENEGGER: I don't want to get into that right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Arnold, how are you going to turn it around?
SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, I think the first and most important thing is is to know that it takes leadership.
WALLACE: Political analysts say Arnold Schwarzenegger won't be able to dodge indefinitely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His opponents are very shrewd and effective and they're going to try to make him put some flesh on these positions and if he doesn't they will.
WALLACE: His only political experience so far...
SCHWARZENEGGER: Yes, this is a victory for the entire state of California.
WALLACE: ...leading a successful ballot initiative last year, increasing funding for the state's afterschool programs.
While he's a household name, his political views are still a bit of a mystery. He describes himself this way.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I have always said that I'm fiscally conservative. Very conservative.
WALLACE: And moderate on social issues, he says. He supports abortion rights, gay rights and some gun control, positions that put him out of step with conservatives like Rush Limbaugh who said Thursday, Schwarzenegger's own words prove he is not a conservative.
That could be one problem for the Hollywood superstar turned politician, another, what he ultimately says he will do to deal with the state's $38 billion deficit, raise taxes or cut spending.
WALLACE: Still, time may be on Schwarzenegger's side. There is not a lot of time to dissect the candidate's views as this election is only two months away -- Anderson.
COOPER: Kelly Wallace, thanks for that. Of course, if Schwarzenegger succeeds in become California's governor he will not be the first actor to make the leap into politics. Clint Eastwood rose to fame as Schwarzenegger did, on a tough guy image. He eventually was elected mayor of Carmel, California in 1996. Fred Grandy, the ships perser (ph) on "The Love Boat", he sailed on to become a Congressman from Iowa. He was elected four times 1987 to 1995. And, of course there was Jesse Venture who made the leap with media consultant Dean Barkley who joins us tonight from Minneapolis and who, I should point out, may end up having a horse in the California race. Dean Barkley, thanks very much for being with us.
DEAN BARKLEY, MEDIA CONSULTANT: It's my pleasure to be here.
COOPER: So, no doubt, you saw Arnold Schwarzenegger on a lot of the morning shows. We played some of them just a second ago. Clearly, not too specific on answers. Is that strategy or simply lack of knowledge?
BARKLEY: Well, I think Arnold's starting to realize that he's in the big time now. You know, Jesse had 11 months to prepare himself for the final couple months of battle, and Arnold's just been thrown in the middle of it, and I think you saw the deer in the head lights a little bit this morning about what it's going to be like the next two months of trying to answer some of these tough questions that the reporters are going to keep on coming at. So he's got a lot of homework to do.
COOPER: So what does he do? If he's only got two month you said, your candidate Jesse Ventura in Minniapolis, he had a lot more time than that to study up, bone up on the issues and I know you threw him out in front of the public because you felt he knew the issues well enough. Are they going to keep Arnold sort of cloisered?
BARKLEY: That's going to be real interesting to watch whether he's going to be a managed candidate or let Arnold be who Arnold is and talk straight to the people and tell him what he really thinks or are they going to be this managed with all these handlers telling him what he can't say and can say. It's going to be real interesting which way he goes. Depending on which way he goes he may win or lose that independent block that's out there that's looking for someone to get behind in this race.
COOPER: Is there is a risk of him being too much himself? I ask this because there was an "Esquire" article a couple months ago and I have a quote from it, I'm going to put it on the screen, just read it to you. This is what he said in "Esquire", he was talking to one of the reporters saying quote, "If you havea certain physical development and you come into the scene as Mr. Universe...that comes with a certain image, a baggage, as much as when you see a blond with," I'm going to turn it over, "with great --" well you know what he said, "and you say to yourself hey, she must be stupid, or must have nothing else to offer which maybe is the case" clearly he is sort of speaking off the cuff. Is he going have to reign that in a little bit?
BARKLEY: I would advice him not to. I think, depending on whose who he's going after, if he's going after the Republican voter then he has this problem with the social issues. So he's got to worry about his stance on abortion, his stands on gay rights, et cetera. If he's going after that independent voter, my advice is be who you are, be straight, be honest. It worked for Ventura.
I mean, Ventura said some outrageous things in his campaign in 1988 and got away with it. The people are looking for somebody different, someone who will be straight and will talk from the heart, not sound bytes and scripts and so far I've seen a lot of sound bytes and scripts from Arnold.
COOPER: Yes, how long does the honeymoon last with the media? In the first couple days it's all just sort of innocuous coverage. Does that last for much longer?
BARKLEY: I think Arnold's about -- he might have another day or so of it, but I hope the reporters in this race, California's facing a huge problem. $38 billion, that's a lot of money. And anyone who wants to run that state, be governor, you know, deserves to tell the voters of California if they get elected how they're going to deal with this huge problem. How they're going to deal with the legislature in Sacramento to get this problem solved. I don't think sound bytes are going to cut it.
COOPER: All right, Dean Barkley appreciate you joining us. It was good to talk to you.
BARKLEY: Thank you.
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