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Inside Politics

Schwarzenegger to Limbaugh: I'm not selling out

Story Highlights

• California governor, conservative talk show host go head to head on radio show
• Schwarzenegger said he understood Limbaugh's ideology, rejected his criticism
• Limbaugh had faulted governor's leadership; governor had called host "irrelevant"
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SACRAMENTO, California (CNN) -- Call it Round 2 in the battle between Arnold and Rush, although this time the jabs were a little more gentle -- and were thrown head to head, on Limbaugh's radio show.

The feud was launched Tuesday when California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called the conservative radio talk show host "irrelevant" on NBC's "Today" show. The comment was in response to Limbaugh's characterization of Schwarzenegger as a "closet liberal."

"I'm not his servant," Schwarzenegger said Tuesday. "I'm the people's servant of California." (Watch Schwarzenegger call Limbaugh "irrelevant" Video)

Wednesday, in a telephone interview on Limbaugh's radio show, Schwarzenegger was asked if he didn't "get a little flustered whenever they throw my name at you." Schwarzenegger sounded anything but flustered.

"I pay very little attention if someone criticizes me or calls me, that I'm turning left, that I'm selling out or whatever," he said. "I have to stay focused on results."

So, Limbaugh asked, "Why are you selling out instead of being the true conservative you are?"

"I'm not selling out," the governor replied. "It's just doing work for the people. ... I can understand where you're coming from ideologically, but when I became governor, I became the people's governor."

Limbaugh countered that "conservatism is the best way to serve the people. Raising the minimum wage is not improving people's lives."

"But I have had hundreds of people come up to me and say it did improve their lives," Schwarzenegger shot back.

Some political observers say the conversation between these two very different Republicans is a perfect metaphor for the state of the GOP.

"The Republicans are divided," said Larry Sabato, a political analyst and professor at the University of Virginia. "They're polarized into two factions that can't agree even on the basics, and it's going to mean that it's much more difficult for Republicans to get elected to the presidency in 2008."

Still, by the time the Limbaugh-Schwarzenegger radio chat had ended, the two had agreed to smoke a stogie together.


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Saying "I have to stay focused on results," California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger defended his record and rejected Rush Limbaugh's label via radio Wednesday.

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