SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger made a cameo in his role as gubernatorial candidate with an announcement that another high-profile adviser was joining his campaign and a promise from aides that he would eventually tell voters where he stands on the issues.
In the former bodybuilder's first exchange with reporters since filing candidacy papers last week, Schwarzenegger said George P. Shultz, secretary of state during the first Bush administration, would join billionaire Warren Buffett on his campaign's economic team.
The availability lasted mere minutes Thursday, and Schwarzenegger continued to brush aside questions about where he stands on issues.
"We are the masters of our own destiny and on Election Day the public will have a clear view about where Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to take our state," said spokesman Sean Walsh.
The growing campaign staff could go Hollywood with actor Rob Lowe as another possible advisor, the Los Angeles Times reported in Friday editions. The longtime Democratic activist and former "West Wing" star is a friend of Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver.
Citing unnamed sources close to the campaign, the Times reported the couple had asked Lowe, starring in the upcoming NBC series "Lyon's Den," to take an as yet undefined senior campaign position.
Bonnie Reiss, a strategist for Schwarzenegger's campaign who's also a Democrat, told the newspaper that she's met with Lowe. Campaign representative Karen Hanretty would say only that a formal announcement about the campaign team would be made in days to come.
In his meeting with reporters, Schwarzenegger, one of 135 candidates on the Oct. 7 ballot to recall Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, also said he did not remember meeting with former Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay as California struggled to pull from its energy crisis two years ago.
The Republican was responding to criticism from Arianna Huffington, an independent candidate and political commentator, and a report in The Los Angeles Times that Lay met with Schwarzenegger and other business and political leaders in May 2001 and gave them a four-page plan detailing his solution to California's energy crisis.
"It doesn't matter what Arianna or anybody says," Schwarzenegger said. "I'm not responding to any of those things because I would be crazy if I would."
The effort to oust Davis has roots in the 2000-2001 energy crisis that left portions of California in the dark and forced the state to buy power at exorbitant prices.
A reminder of those dark days struck Thursday afternoon as the largest blackout in U.S. history darkened much of the Northeast and parts of Canada.
Davis said the power crisis may be an issue in the special election.
"People may try and go back and second-guess what we did, but I would like to know what they would do when Enron had manipulated the market," Davis said. "We had a problem of not enough capacity plus the energy companies were ripping us off big time."
Recall supporters have knocked Davis' handling of the crisis and blamed him for the state's record $38 billion deficit.
A coalition of civil rights groups and minority businesses and media scheduled a two-hour debate among leading contenders Sept. 9 in Los Angeles while a statewide broadcasters group announced plans to winnow the ballot of motley candidates to six front-runners for a Sept. 17 debate in Sacramento.
"We're trying to get the people as involved as possible and make it unlike a political debate with podiums and predictable answers," said California Broadcasters Association President Stan Statham about the planned Sacramento debate. "We're trying to shake it up and shake it loose."
The broadcasters offered Davis, who is not on the ballot, an opportunity to spar with recall proponents in a 30-minute taped debate. Davis and most of the expected front-runners did not immediately commit to participate in the forums.