Arnold survives his coming out

Thursday, Sep 25 2003

Page 3 of 3

Lacking their predicted McClintock-vs.-Schwarzenegger fireworks, Democratic spinners seized on this morsel. Bob Mulholland, who apologized last month after declaring that Schwarzenegger would face “real bullets” in the campaign and who more recently told the Weekly that Schwarzenegger’s 1977 Oui magazine musings about group sex constituted “rape,” told reporters that the T4 quip would dominate the closing days of the campaign.

Not likely.

While hacks and flacks lingered at the site picking through the entrails of a surprisingly lively bird now quite dead, the Weekly was off to a big Schwarzenegger rally at the Cal Expo fairgrounds. There, 1,000 Arnold backers had packed into one of the exposition halls to watch the debate and be warmed up by comedian Dennis Miller and Sacramento Kings center Vlade Divac, star of the Yugoslavian world-championship basketball team and yet another formidable California figure with a pronounced accent. With wife Maria Shriver, Schwarzenegger greeted the exuberant crowd, whose roars echoed repeatedly off the rafters. Confident and buoyed by his performance, the erstwhile actor assured his supporters that “only with all your help can I make it, but I will soon be hanging out a lot in Sacramento.”

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Despite all their public talk about closing the gap on the recall, Team Gray acted as though they were deeply worried about just that. At his only public appearance of the day, where he signed legislation promoting stem-cell research, the embattled governor simultaneously expressed satisfaction with his uphill climb and increasingly pointed disdain for Schwarzenegger, predicting that he couldn’t handle the give-and-take of a debate. And his staff unloaded a blizzard of press releases, focusing on the good works of the governor and the evil, ignorant ways of his opposition. Actually, only one evil, ignorant opponent in particular. That would be, of course, as the candidate self-deprecatingly referred to himself at a recent press conference, “Governor Schwarzenschnitzel.”

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