- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 8, 2003

“Der Gropenfuhrer muscles his way into office,” noted a Los Angeles Times column yesterday, later concluding, “As you read this, the governor is probably looking at his team and asking, ‘What do we do now?’”

California Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger got no honeymoon with the paper.

A separate Times column on Mr. Schwarzenegger also summarized, “We’ve seen him naked on the screen. We know about the Nazi father, the celebrity journalist wife, the bodybuilding titles and the crude behavior towards women.”

Such columns are part of a greater body of work, however.

Last week, the Times ran a series of articles claiming the governor-elect fondled 15 women over two decades, prompting hubbub in the media and annoyance among some Times readers: 1,000 cancelled their subscriptions, claiming “the newspaper has intentionally targeted Schwarzenegger as part of a partisan agenda,” according to a Times account.

But the paper does not see it as such.

“We’ve given careful scrutiny to every leading candidate. We addressed Arianna Huffington’s income tax, casino donations that went to Cruz Bustamante and the campaign finances of Gray Davis,” said Times spokeswoman Martha Goldstein yesterday.

“We have produced thoughtful and careful reporting on the allegations against Gov.-elect Schwarzenegger for a long time, and we’ll follow up on leads which come up on other candidates as well,” she continued.

Vigorous Arnold-bashing is evident elsewhere as well.

“Mr. Schwarzenegger is clearly a slimeball … a political incompetent,” stated a New York Observer editorial yesterday, while New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote on Oct. 2 of “Schwarzenegger’s groping and goose-stepping.”

But what MSNBC billed as the big “grope-a-dope” story has persisted since a 1977 “Oui” magazine interview with Mr. Schwarzenegger about his singles lifestyle.

The interview resurfaced once Mr. Schwarzenegger declared his candidacy in August, mysteriously posted at the “Smoking Gun” Web site then amplified in print and broadcast.

When Mr. Schwarzenegger considered a run for governor in 2001, Gov. Gray Davis’ political advisor Garry South faxed copies of a scathing “Premiere” magazine article to newspapers, radio and TV stations, billing the fax “Re: AH-nuhld’s Piggish Behavior.”

The five-page story, published in March 2001, offered groping tales and also claimed Mr. Schwarzenegger had cheated on his wife, Maria Shriver, and that his damaged heart was a “ticking time bomb.”

But it was apparently all for naught.

“Recent revelations about Schwarzenegger’s sexual indiscretions do not appear to have hurt his candidacy,” stated a Stanford University poll yesterday, which found that 38 percent of female voters voted for Mr. Schwarzenegger, while 34 percent favored Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante.

A CNN exit poll gave Mr. Schwarzenegger 43 percent of the female support, and 37 percent for Mr. Bustamante.

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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