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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Women's Groups Protest Schwarzenegger Campaign

Aired September 5, 2003 - 19:16   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: In California today, Arnold Schwarzenegger came under attack by some women's groups. They say his past statements and his past activities leave a trail of sexism. That's what they say. They held a protest outside his headquarters in Santa Monica today.
Kelly Wallace has details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Women activists sending a message near Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign headquarters. The actor turned candidate, prominent women's groups say, has no place in the governor's office.

SHELLY MANDELL, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN: He's obsessed with body parts. I really don't think that he gets it, that women are human beings that are more than their body parts.

WALLACE: They point to comments Schwarzenegger made in a 1977 interview with the French magazine "Oui."

MANDELL: Somebody needs to write him a really good script on the true portrayal of women.

WALLACE: Schwarzenegger shot back during a news conference in the heavily Republican orange county, saying he has the utmost respect for women.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: You should just go and talk to the women that I work with.

WALLACE: And those 1977 comments, he says, were all designed to help bodybuilding, not hurt women.

SCHWARZENEGGER: We tried to get attention and headlines and I would say things that many times were exaggerated or not true or so, just to get the headlines. But the fact of the matter is you got to forget about the '70s. I was a different person then.

WALLACE: Schwarzenegger refused to say more.

California's recent polls don't necessarily show any gender gap, but some political observers say the Hollywood superhero may have a problem, mainly with Republican women supporters, if more controversial statements are uncovered. RAPHAEL SONENSHEIN, POLITICAL ANALYST: Not like in the entertainment industry, where you can shrug it all off. The voters sometimes feel when it accumulates too much, it's easier just to stay at home or to vote against.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Kelly, Schwarzenegger said talk to women I work with. What about the woman he lives with, his wife, Maria Shriver. Has she said anything publicly? Is she expected to?

WALLACE: Well, Anderson, and you can hear it's a very festive atmosphere here at the Schwarzenegger headquarters. We will be seeing Maria Shriver just about 45 minutes now. She will be here with her husband for a formal kickoff of this campaign headquarters.

We haven't seen her since early August. But campaign aides tell me we will start seeing more and more of Maria Shriver, talking about her husband and trying to get out the vote. Political observers, Anderson, believe she could be strong ammunition for her husband with Democrats and Republicans, and definitely with women -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Kelly Wallace, thanks very much from California tonight.

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