Schwarzenegger campaign blames Davis
Newspaper reports four more groping allegations
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign co-chairman blamed Gov. Gray Davis on Sunday for recent media reports alleging the Republican candidate groped numerous women during his career as an actor and bodybuilder.
"I believe that there are a number of these people who have had close political ties to the Democratic Party and to Gray Davis that are involved here," U.S. Rep. David Dreier said on CNN's "Late Edition."
In an interview with ABC broadcast Sunday, Schwarzenegger called the allegations "campaign trickery."
The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that four more women had come forward with stories of Schwarzenegger grabbing their breasts or buttocks in alleged incidents between 1979 and 2000, bringing to 15 the number of women who have raised such complaints. (Full story)
"These are serious questions, which, if true, raise doubts about his ability to govern this state. You need to think about whether this is a risk California should take," Davis told supporters in San Jose.
"Should we recall a sitting governor who's committed no crime, who's not mentally incompetent and has done some very positive things over the last several years, for this other fellow about whom some doubts have been raised by some reputable papers?"
Schwarzenegger appeared at the end of a four-day bus tour at a rally in Sacramento, standing before a backdrop of women and girls holding "Join Arnold" signs.
"We are here to clean house. We are here to sweep out the bureaucracy," he told supporters. "We are here to sweep out the special interests. And we are here, No. 1, to sweep out Gray Davis."
Sunday's allegations are the latest in a series that began Thursday, when the Times first reported on accusations of sexual misconduct against Schwarzenegger that spanned three decades.
Schwarzenegger said Thursday that he originally considered his behavior "playful," but conceded he "behaved badly" and apologized to any women he may have offended. (Full story)
In the interview with ABC, which was taped Saturday, he said he could not respond to specific allegations.
"It doesn't make any sense to go through details here with you," he said. "What is important is that I cannot remember what was happening 20 years ago and 15 years ago. But some of the things sound like me."
Schwarzenegger said no one ever objected to his behavior before.
"Now, all of a sudden, isn't it odd that three days and four days before the campaign, all of a sudden all these women want to have an apology?" he asked.
Voters in California face a two-part ballot in Tuesday's recall. The first part asks them whether they want to remove Davis, a Democrat who won a second term in November. The second part includes a list of 135 possible replacements. Davis
Schwarzenegger, a Republican, leads the list of candidates to replace Davis in recent polls, followed by Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and state Sen. Tom McClintock, another Republican.
The Austria-born Schwarzenegger also has had to deal with excerpts from a book proposal in which he reportedly said he admired Hitler.
The actor -- who has raised millions of dollars for the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, which seeks to preserve the memory of the Holocaust -- has vehemently denied making such statements and said he has nothing but "disdain" for the Nazi leader. (Full story)
Dreier, a Republican who represents the outlying eastern suburbs of Los Angeles, said Schwarzenegger and his bodybuilding companions chased neo-Nazis out of his hometown at age 17.
In a Knight-Ridder/NBC poll released Sunday, 54 percent of likely voters said they would vote to oust Davis, while 41 percent said they oppose recalling him.
Among replacement candidates, Schwarzenegger drew the support of 37 percent of voters surveyed; Bustamante, 29 percent; and McClintock, 15 percent. It had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.
But the poll -- taken Wednesday through Saturday -- showed support for the recall slipping after the allegations emerged about Schwarzenegger.
Bustamante said on CNN's "Late Edition" that his campaign's internal polls show both him and Davis gaining ground.
Bustamante said Schwarzenegger's behavior could constitute a crime and suggested California authorities "take a real clear look at all the allegations that have been taking place."
Davis raised similar questions Saturday. "Some of those events are clearly a crime," he said. (Full story)