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Jewish World Review Nov. 18, 2003 / 23 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764

Roger Simon

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Who let the dogs out?



http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Politicians often regret their campaign promises. Upon calm reflection, George H.W. Bush might have wanted to say, "Read my lips, no new taxes — unless the country really, really needs them to reduce the deficit."

And Arnold Schwarzenegger, inaugurated as California's 38th governor this week, probably wishes he had adopted the "Dee Snider Defense" in the face of accusations that Schwarzenegger has groped at least 15 women over the years. Snider, lead singer for Twisted Sister, whose 1984 hit "We're Not Gonna Take It" became Schwarzenegger's campaign anthem, said, "The fact is, men are dogs. If we took all the dogs out of jobs of importance, we'd have a lot of empty offices."

Instead, two days before the recall election that transformed him from a Hollywood superstar to a Sacramento superstar, Schwarzenegger did an interview with NBC's Tom Brokaw in order to put the groping allegations to rest. Instead, however, Schwarzenegger continued their life cycle. The key exchange was this one:

BROKAW: Governor [Gray] Davis is saying today that you have an obligation to answer specifically the charges that have been made against you by 15 women now. You either have to call those women and their families liars, or give specific responses to the charges that they have made. Are you prepared to do that?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Governor Davis owes the people of California an apology for what he has done to this state. He owes them an explanation. He should talk to the people of California because what he has done to this state is terrible.

BROKAW: But you're not going to be any more specific about these charges, in terms of your denials?

SCHWARZENEGGER: As soon as the campaign is over, I will.

Two days later, the campaign ended with a Schwarzenegger victory, but he didn't seem all that eager to make good on his campaign promise.


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At his first press conference, Schwarzenegger didn't raise the matter (nor did any of the hundreds of reporters in the room ask him about it) but he did make an interesting plea. "Please do me a favor," Schwarzenegger said to the reporters. "Stay with me the next three years, because you are absolutely essential for me to get my message out there. I really appreciate your being a part of this campaign."

Perhaps Schwarzenegger's assumption that the press was "part" of his campaign was enough to awaken some reporters, because the next day at a press conference, a reporter asked Schwarzenegger when he would make good on his promise to provide more specifics about the groping charges.

"Old news," Schwarzenegger said tersely.

Not to Garry Trudeau, creator of Doonesbury, it wasn't. Trudeau has done strip after strip portraying Schwarzenegger as a giant groping hand. And California Attorney Gen. Bill Lockyer, who appears to have been on every possible side of the issue, has also kept it going.

On the last day of the recall campaign, Lockyer, a Democrat, said that even though the statute of limitations had run out on bringing criminal charges against Schwarzenegger for his behavior, "Arnold should volunteer" for an "investigation to clear up these charges." Said Lockyer, "There's too many of them, they're disturbing, the volume is disturbing."

After Schwarzenegger won, however, Lockyer said he had voted for Schwarzenegger. "I'm convinced Arnold didn't really understand that he was caught up in frat-boy behavior," Lockyer said.

Two weeks ago, however, Lockyer gave a radio interview saying he had met with Schwarzenegger and told him "some form of independent, third-party review of those [groping] complaints" was needed "to see if there's any criminal liability or not." Schwarzenegger was furious and his spokesman made the somewhat curious claim that Lockyer had violated "attorney-client" privilege by divulging "the content of communication between himself and the governor-elect." Under California law, Schwarzenegger's spokesman said, "the attorney general is the governor's lawyer."

But at the time, Schwarzenegger was not governor, nor had the recall vote even been certified. No matter, the spokesman said, Lockyer had violated the privilege and even though Schwarzenegger had decided "to engage a well-respected investigative firm to look into the allegations," he now might not turn the results over the Lockyer.

Lockyer, who may run for governor in 2006, soon struck back, saying someone had come to him two days before the election with information that Schwarzenegger may have groped someone last year during the filming of Terminator 3. Lockyer also suggested that a toll-free 800 number be established so that anyone with complaints against Schwarzenegger could call in.

Unfortunately, 1-800-T-H-E-G-R-O-P-I-N-A-T-O-R will not fit.

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