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Posted on Saturday, November 05, 2005 - 09:21 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

By MICHAEL R. BLOOD, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 23 minutes ago

SAN DIEGO - The state's special election verged on a celebrity showdown Saturday when Warren Beatty and his wife Annette Bening attempted to crash a campaign appearance by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.


The Hollywood couple strode side by side to the entrance of a cavernous airport hangar where the governor was about to address several hundred supporters. But they were blocked by a Schwarzenegger campaign aide, Darrel Ng, who told the "Bulworth" star he was not on the guest list and didn't have the appropriate wristband to get inside.

"You have to have a wristband to listen to the governor?" Bening asked. "He represents all of us, right?"

Beatty's appearance caused momentary confusion at the rally. Just before the governor took the stage, the hangar door was closed literally in the face of Beatty and Bening. It was later reopened as Schwarzenegger began to speak.

Inside, Schwarzenegger told cheering supporters that his slate of four ballot proposals would "reform the broken system" in Sacramento.

In a later interview, he alluded to Beatty only indirectly.

"There's the main event, then there is the sideshow," the governor said. "I don't care about the sideshow."

Beatty drew the ire of some of the governor's supporters who called him a Hollywood liberal and a has-been actor.

"It's time for some people to retire," said former San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock, who hosts a popular radio talk show. "I'm trying to be gentle about it but it's clear that Warren is over the hill and desperately looking for something else to do."

Beatty, a longtime Democratic activist, has criticized Schwarzenegger in recent months, fueling speculation that he might make a bid for governor next year.

Beatty, 68, planned to shadow Schwarzenegger throughout the day as the governor worked his way north to Los Angeles. Beatty urged people to vote against the Nov. 8 ballot measures supported by Schwarzenegger.

"The sun is hot, the agenda is clear, the task is at hand, so let's get out and do what we have to do," Beatty told the crowd. "Let's get out the vote."

Boarding a bus draped with a banner reading "Truth Squad," Beatty said, "We may just have some fun."

Asked in a brief interview if he hoped to speak with Schwarzenegger, Beatty said "that would be great."

Beatty told reporters he had no plans to run for public office, but didn't rule it out entirely. He also said he wasn't a gubernatorial candidate in next year's election.

"I don't want to run for governor," he told reporters. "I want to say what I think."

In Anaheim, Beatty told about 100 supporters outside a building where Schwarzenegger was speaking that he believed the issues on the ballot could have been resolved by the Legislature, but the governor forced them into a special election because he knew there would be low voter turnout and a higher chance of success.

"To my knowledge, I have not heard him debate a human, living person," Beatty said.

He did not attempt to enter where Schwarzenegger was speaking.

Beatty also told supporters, "My experience in politics goes way, way back, much further back than Arnold's. I don't drop the issues simply because I know someone socially."

Schwarzenegger is pushing several measures that would curb the power of the Democrat-controlled Legislature and the state's powerful public employee unions. Another measure with his backing would extend the trial period for teaches to get tenure.

Schwarzenegger took some time before his bus tour on Saturday for a call-in news conference with Ohio reporters to give his qualified endorsement of a redistricting measure on the ballot there Tuesday.

The governor is backing Proposition 77 on California's ballot that would let a panel of retired judges draw legislative and congressional maps. The Ohio initiative would have maps judged by a bipartisan panel.

The proposals have drawn opposition from Democrats and Republicans, but Schwarzenegger said he would like to see similar efforts nationwide.

"Let's take the power away from the politicians and let's take away the gerrymandering and give the power back to the people," Schwarzenegger said.


Associated Press Press writers Elliot Spagat, Don Thompson and Gillian Flaccus contributed to this report.

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