This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, October 4, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.
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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Hollywood's ho-hum on the California recall, but it's gearing up for the 2004 presidential contest.
Joining us to explain, Peter Kiefer, who covers politics for The Hollywood Reporter.
Glad you're here, Peter.
PETER KIEFER, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Glad to be here.
BARNES: I'm interested in the recall, and I'm sure Hollywood liberals don't agree with Arnold Schwarzenegger (search), he's a Republican, they're not. But why haven't they mobilized against him?
KIEFER: The recall election, it's thrown the entertainment industry for a bit of a loop. Obviously on one hand, you have Arnold Schwarzenegger, who's from the industry. He's well liked, he's well respected, and he's very successful. But he's a Republican.
And I think the industry has had a difficult time reconciling its left-leaning ways with the fact that Arnold is a Republican. And as a result, they haven't really marshaled their forces in the manner that most people thought they would.
MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: So, so they're not, they're not helping Gray Davis (search), they're not contributing to Gray Davis side of the recall.
KIEFER: No, that's the other issue. Gray Davis was never really Hollywood's guy. He's…he never really cozied up with the appropriate individuals within the industry, and so they…I don't think the industry feels as wedded to Gray Davis as they did, say, to Bill Clinton (search).
KIEFER: So that's another function of the…of Hollywood's sort of apathy over this whole issue.
KONDRACKE: Yes. Now, now, how did this, this Los Angeles Times story about Arnold's groping women, how did that play?
KIEFER: It was, it was the buzz of the town definitely yesterday. But, I mean, everyone sort of knew about Arnold's mannerisms on the set for a while now, and everyone was sort of expecting this story to hit. It was just a matter of when. And it's Hollywood, so, you know, it's…which is known for its somewhat loose morals...
KIEFER: ... so I don't think you had...
KONDRACKE: What…can you expect, right?
KIEFER: Oh, yes, I don't think, it's been…it's passed a bit now. It hit hard yesterday, but it's sort of old news now.
BARNES: Now, Peter, Hollywood often falls in love with liberals who are running for president.
Well, we got, I guess he's not a real liberal, General Wesley Clark (search), who's now running…and was out in Hollywood. Did Hollywood fall in love with General Clark?
KIEFER: Yes, he was out meeting with the appropriate people last week, and, I mean, just, just as on the national level, he's very hot within the industry.
He's, he's a new face, he's got the military background, he's a viable candidate. But the question is, what is his lasting power?
I think you haven't seen a wholehearted endorsement of the single candidate from Hollywood yet because there's sort of a wait-and-see attitude.
And Clark's fresh and he's hot right now, but what does the future hold for him? So I don't think you're going to see a full-blown endorsement of a single candidate for a little while now.
BARNES: Now, Peter, you've mentioned meeting with the appropriate people. Who are the appropriate people that a political candidate should meet in coming to Hollywood?
KIEFER: The usual suspects are…I mean, there's the DreamWorks people, the Spielbergs, the Geffens, the Katzenburgs, producer Steve Tisch is a big Democrat supporter, Larry David has risen as a new sort of face, Democratic face of Hollywood. And Steve Bing is a huge contributor as well.
So I think Wesley Clark met with a…several of the, several of the people that I just mentioned.
KONDRACKE: Now, all these people presumably on a zero to 10 chart, hate George Bush about 12 or 13 or 15 or something like that?
KIEFER: Yes, well, I don't live…I don't want to speak for them. But I think you're on the right track. I don't…he's...
KIEFER: ... not the most popular guy up here right now.
KONDRACKE: Yes, no, so what about Howard Dean (search)? I mean, he sort of led the pack in being anti-Bush and that's the basis of his, you know, leading everybody else. He…how is he going over in Hollywood?
KIEFER: He's well liked. He was out…he's been out here several times, and he's…he was hot, he was a hot candidate.
The problem is, he's been trumped a bit as of late by Clark's entrance, and, but he's aggressive, and he's calling Bush, he calls a spade a spade, and Hollywood, I think, likes that.
But like I said, Hollywood really wants to win. They like backing a guy who's a real contender.
And I don't really think we've seen which of these candidate ultimately is, is the real deal.
And Hollywood's, I think they're going to wait and see, and then the political machine will, you'll start see throwing their weight behind that individual, whoever it may be.
BARNES: Are there any, you mentioned a lot of producers. Are there any actors who are, have gotten politically active in either the recall or a presidential race?
KIEFER: Not in…not, not in the recall race so much. I think Tom Hanks (search) is pretty strong Democratic face out there.
He's been a strong supporter of the Democrats for a while now. But, you know, the recall is really fallen off the radar.
It's been very interesting. You, you, you would have thought that there would have been some sort of motivation, some sort of movement for, to fight against this thing.
But it's really, it's pretty wild. You haven't, you haven't seen much of a reaction whatsoever.
BARNES: Well, we know Rob Lowe (search), the actor, is a friend of Arnold and is working for him. Is his connection to Arnold merely personal, or is he someone who agrees with Arnold politically?
KIEFER: I think it's more personal. There was missed reports that he was going to be serving as a political consultant for Arnold when he first announced his candidacy, which was wrong.
At a press conference, Arnold really explained that it was just they go back awhile, they're both from the West Side.
And, you know, Arnold has a lot of friends in the entertainment industry, and I think Rob Lowe, it was more of a personal thing than it is that their political alignment.
KONDRACKE: Well, now, before she dropped out of the race, Arianna Huffington (search) had Aaron Sorkin, Harvey Weinstein, and Larry David all in her corner. What did they, where have they gone now that she's out?
KIEFER: I think a lot…you, you're seeing a lot of that energy pushed now towards voting no on recall.
I think the polling numbers are showing that Arnold's…if Davis is ultimately booted out of office, it's Arnold's for the taking. So all the, all energy now seems to be focusing on getting people to vote no.
And so it's…it hasn't really shifted to a single candidate.
KONDRACKE: OK, Peter, thank you so much for being with us.
KIEFER: My pleasure.
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