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Arnold Schwarzenegger — California's Kindergarten Cop?

How will “The Terminator’s” gubernatorial candidacy change California's politics?

August 27, 2003

How will "The Terminator's" gubernatorial candidacy change California's politics?

California's gubernatorial recall election would have been colorful even without Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger entering the race. The candidacy of the Austrian-born former Mr. Universe, real estate magnate, movie actor and husband to a member of the Kennedy clan, however, has turned it into a global event. Our Read My Lips feature captures his newest ambition.

When you were a young man, why did you move to the United States?

“I come from Austria, a socialist country. There you can hear 18-year olds talking about their pension. But me — I wanted more — I wanted to be the best.”

(Arnold Schwarzenegger, July 2003)

What are you trying to achieve now?

"I would love to be Governor of California."

(Arnold Schwarzenegger, July 2003)

What's wrong with today’s California?

“This was a place of great dreams. What has happened to California? What has happened to that feeling? What has happened to that optimism? We have everything we need here — except leadership.”

(Arnold Schwarzenegger, August 2003)

What fuels your political ambitions?

“I was always dreaming about very powerful people — dictators and things like that. I was just always impressed by people who could be remembered for hundreds of years — or even, like Jesus, be remembered for a thousand years.”

(Arnold Schwarzenegger, July 2003)

What will help you deal with the Democrats?

“I have lived with a Democrat the last 17 years. I know how to get along with Democrats.”

(Arnold Schwarzenegger, August 2003)

How do analysts judge Arnold Schwarzenegger's political experience?

“He has been involved with ballot initiatives in the past, but that’s the equivalent of a B or C movie.”

(Kam Kuwata, Democratic Party consultant, July 2003)

And how does a former acting partner view the situation?

“He’d be a complete natural in politics — although he’d have to curb his ribald and wicked sense of humor.”

(Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, July 2003)

Do Republicans trust Mr. Schwarzenegger?

“Arnold Schwarzenegger is no conservative. Period.”

(Rush Limbaugh, U.S. syndicated radio host, August 2003)

What is he?

“Call him a compassionate libertarian.”

(John H. Fund, columnist for, July 2003)

How much can Mr. Schwarzenegger rely on name recognition?

“He’s absolutely going to suck the oxygen out of other campaigns.”

(Bill Whalen, fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, July 2003)

What may play into Mr. Schwarzenegger's hands?

“This is the moment Arnold has spent all of his life waiting for. A blitzkrieg election like this is perfect for him.”

(George Butler, movie producer, July 2003)

Will his campaign profit from Warren Buffet's investment expertise?

“Mr. Schwarzenegger and Mr. Buffet are two ‘wow’ brands. In terms of political experience and policy, however, they are not (yet) more than zero plus zero.”

(Amity Shlaes, Financial Times columnist, August 2003)

What about Mr. Schwarzenegger’s view on taxes?

“I’m very, very much a believer that our people haven’t been under taxed. The problem is the politicians have overspent.”

(August 2003)

Do you plan anything on immigration?

“I’m very much pro-immigrant. No one understands those problems more than me.”

(August 2003)

In what sense do Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger complement each other?

“Mr. Reagan championed free markets. “Ahnuld” has been successful in them.”

(John H. Fund, columnist for, July 2003)

What will be Mr. Schwarzenegger's campaign strategy?

“He will run as a Republican, but his campaign may feel like a third-party insurgency.”

(Dan Weintraub, Sacramento Bee columnist, July 2003)

In your campaign, will you rely on big names from U.S. politics?

“As far as I’m concerned, we don’t need presidents to come in, we don’t need ex-presidents to come in, we don’t need other senators from other states coming in.”

(Arnold Schwarzenegger, August 2003)

Just in case, how does U.S. President George W. Bush think about his candidacy?

“I think he’d be a good governor”.

(U.S. President George W. Bush, August 2003)