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Inside Politics

Schwarzenegger: 'I will stay focused'

Campaign confronts Hitler, sexual impropriety allegations


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Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks of having "behaved badly sometimes."
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California Recall
Arnold Schwarzenegger

ARCADIA, California (CNN) -- Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger expressed confidence Friday that he would become California's next governor, shaking off allegations and news stories about his character that rocked his campaign in the waning days of the wild and unprecedented recall race.

"I will stay focused," he told a crowd of supporters in Arcadia on the second day of a four-day bus trip that is taking the front-runner candidate, his entourage and a pack of reporters from San Diego to Sacramento. "I will stay focused, because the fight continues. ... It is time that we chase Gray Davis out of Sacramento."

The bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-politician made his comments after allegations emerged that he once expressed at least partial admiration for Adolf Hitler and a day after he apologized for boorish behavior against women. Schwarzenegger said he never remember expressing any admiration for the Nazi leader.(Full story)

On Tuesday, California voters will decide whether to oust Davis, a Democrat elected to his second term in November. They will also pick a replacement from among 135 names on the ballot -- a selection that matters only if the recall succeeds.

Overnight tracking polls show the actor's popularity rising against Davis, said Mike Murphy, an adviser to the actor. "The Davis smear tornado is having more effect on them than us," Murphy said.

Asked if he was implying that Davis was behind the revelations and allegations, Murphy said he was not, but added, "Governor Davis has a history of negative campaigning."

Davis said he was outraged by Schwarzenegger's alleged comments on the Nazi dictator and "disturbed" by the allegations about the actor's sexual misconduct.

And on NBC's Today show, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said voters will have to consider what the allegations say about Schwarzenegger's character when deciding whom to elect.

"If this was a man that found Adolf Hitler to be a glorified and acceptable and a desirable character, I sure want to know it as a Californian because I don't want that man as my governor," Feinstein, a popular political figure in the state, said.

The issue surfaced when the New York Times and ABC News cited an unpublished 1970s book proposal by "Pumping Iron" film producer George Butler as having contained quotes from Schwarzenegger expressing admiration for the Nazi dictator.

Both news organizations quoted Schwarzenegger as saying, "I admired Hitler, for instance, because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education up to power. And I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for what he did with it."

But the New York Times said Butler later told the newspaper that he had found another transcript of the interview that contained different wording: "I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for his way of getting to the people and so on. But I didn't admire him for what he did with it. It's very hard to say who I admire, who are my heroes."

Schwarzenegger told reporters Thursday that he doesn't remember making the alleged comments and has always despised Hitler.

"I hated the regime -- hate the regime, the Third Reich, the whole Nazi philosophy -- have always fought against it," Schwarzenegger said. "I despise everything that the Nazis stood for or Hitler stood for."

Davis told ABC's Good Morning America that the Hitler story is "particularly offensive."

"I don't see how anyone can admire Adolf Hitler. Any decent American has to be offended by that phrase."

Regarding the sexual misconduct allegations, Feinstein said, "I think it's a dimension of his character. He hasn't denied them. Women have come forward."

Schwarzenegger on Thursday both disputed and apologized for the sexual misconduct allegations, raised in the Los Angeles Times, saying "most of it is not true" and that he doesn't remember many of the alleged incidents, which date back as far as 30 years.

But he also told a San Diego audience that he had "behaved badly" in the past and apologized to anyone he may have offended.

Meanwhile, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was expected to join the bus tour Friday. After an event in Arcadia, the bus is to travel to Santa Clarita and then to Bakersfield.

Hours before Giuliani was to join Schwarzenegger, a spokeswoman for New York's former mayor acknowledged that he spoke last summer against California's recall election.

Giuliani made the comments during a televised Yankees-Mariners game August 8 at Yankee Stadium.

Davis' campaign, has circulated the clip to members of the news media.

Asked by a sportscaster for WCBS-TV what he thought of the "Terminator" star running for governor, Giuliani said, off camera, "Well, it's California, right? This is the strangest thing, that whole recall.

"I think the provision is a provision that probably nobody ever thought would be used this way. It shouldn't be there. The idea of a very small number of people being able to recall a governor is a big mistake.

"I think, as a Republican, I'm obviously hoping a Republican wins. And I don't particularly agree with Governor Davis. But it could happen the other way around, too."

-- CNN Correspondents Candy Crowley, Frank Buckley and Kelly Wallace contributed to this report.


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