Sexual Politics Hits California Recall

This is a partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, October 3, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Cal Thomas sitting in for Sean Hannity. He's out sick tonight.

Cal, nice to have you here.


COLMES: Nice to have you here.

We get right to our top story. As soon as Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) apologized yesterday for behaving badly…his words…toward women in the past, the California gubernatorial candidate faced new allegations that he once said he admired Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler (search).

Why are these stories coming out so close to the recall election, and who's behind the accusations?

Joining us now from Los Angeles, the co-chairman of the Schwarzenegger campaign, California Congressman David Dreier, and from Washington the CEO of the YWCA of USA, Patricia Ireland.

Good to have you both with us.

REP. DAVID DREIER, R, CALIF.: Alan, Cal and Patricia, nice to see all of you.

COLMES: David, good to see you.

David, let me begin with you. As co-chair of the campaign, what effect has this had on the campaign up to now?

DREIER: Well, it's very interesting, Alan. We have found that since Arnold apologized, there has been in our internal polling, as well as in the Survey USA poll, which was done by the KABC…the ABC affiliates out here in California…there's been a net two-point increase in the totals all the way across the board.

COLMES: This has helped him?

DREIER: Excuse me. Well, I'm not arguing that it's helped him. But I think that people understand this for exactly what it is.

Arnold Schwarzenegger said that if there's anything that he said or did that offended anyone he regrets it and he apologized. Well, and you see him right there. And he obviously made that statement in San Diego yesterday morning.

And I will tell you, Alan, we have been on a bus tour across the state.


DREIER: We've had four stops so far. And I just came off of it to be with you all. And I will tell you that the support among women, women leaders, is very, very strong and very positive.

And I will tell you they're not happy with what…they're not happy about this. Many women said, Alan...

COLMES: Let me get the other guest in, David.

DREIER: Let me say that many women said they're angry and upset with what Arnold did but they're more angry at Gray Davis (search).

COLMES: All right. Let me get in Patricia Ireland.

Thank you for being here. You're a former head of NOW (search). I know what conservatives will say to you. They'll say why wasn't NOW immediately on shows speaking out when accusations were made about Bill Clinton (search). You know you're going to get those questions.

Is there a different opinion or different reaction from feminists and liberal women to this than there was towards allegations against Bill Clinton?

PATRICIA IRELAND, YWCA OF THE USA CEO: Well, I'll say the exact same thing about this that I said about Kathleen Wylie's complaints about Bill Clinton. And that is if what these women are saying it true it goes way beyond sexual harassment to sexual assault.

And I will also say to you that this kind of behavior is not confined to the left or the right, to Republicans or Democrats. It's all across the spectrum.

COLMES: I agree. But Patricia, there were accusations of sexual assault against Bill Clinton.


COLMES: So it's not…so what's the difference? Why were you and other feminists not as outspoken, it seemed, against those allegations?

IRELAND: Well, that's a fantasy. I was…I just said I'm saying the exact same thing about this that I said about Bill Clinton. I went to the point, at one point, of calling him a horse's patoot and having to apologize to the equestrian set.

I think the point is that the YWCA's mission, part of which is empowering women economically, is going to succeed. Women are going to have to be able to work on movie sets, to wait tables without somebody groping and pawing them and then turning around saying, "Well, if that was offensive, I'm sorry."

COLMES: Let me go back to Congressman Dreier.

Bill Clinton apologized over and over again. They said, "Oh, well, he just apologized because he got caught."

Arnold apologized, of course, and he said all the right things. But he said, of course, after these allegations came to light. One could say it seems a little disingenuous. Of course, he's going to apologize. It was good that he did but...

DREIER: Thank you for that, Alan.

And let me say that I saw the transcript of your program from last night and we had in today's Los Angeles Times and we in California, I should say, by the way, are going to be making this decision on Tuesday. It's for Californians to decide.

But let me say that we saw Susan Estrich's piece in the paper. She said that the Los Angeles Times has been so pro-Davis that she's embarrassed to be a Democrat.

And I will tell you that, again, I'm not apologizing for any…I mean, I'm not excusing any behavior whatsoever. I mean, I think it was wrong. And Arnold did make the statement.

His wife, Maria Shriver (search), gave an amazing speech here in Orange County today. And I will tell you that Arnold has very strong women with whom he has worked, and he has amazing respect for women.

I will say to Patricia, you know that Arnold Schwarzenegger is pro-choice. I believe that he's going to be the next governor of California on the important issues that you all face. I think that you're going to find some agreement with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

And again, that does not excuse...

COLMES: Right.

DREIER: ... but he has apologized and we are moving ahead. I do believe that as we look at where we are, not just after the Oui magazine weeks ago but a few days before the election does, in fact, lead many people to question the credibility.

THOMAS: Patricia Ireland, Cal Thomas. Good to see you again.

IRELAND: Hi, Cal. How are you?

THOMAS: We've debated many times on the lecture circuit. Always enjoy seeing you.

The most famous political sound bite in a very long time was Bill Clinton saying, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman," pause, "Ms. Lewinsky." We can all repeat it because it is embedded in our brains.

Now Arnold Schwarzenegger came right out and acknowledged that he's been a bad boy in the past and that for anybody he has offended he apologizes. Now don't you think he gets some political points for being honest and open about that, unlike Bill Clinton?

IRELAND: I think he gets a number of political points. I think he's had some very good political advice.

And I think that that kind of behavior is really about a powerful person abusing their power. And if he gets that now, it's a little late but it's better late than never. I think he thought it was...

COLMES: Let me follow up with that, just a minute.

IRELAND: If I may because...

THOMAS: Sure. Absolutely. I'm sorry.

IRELAND: I appreciate that.

THOMAS: Excuse me.

IRELAND: I think what we see in most cases when that kind of abuse of power is there, is that it's not just in politics. It's not in Republicans and Democrats. It's everywhere that men don't want…they want to put women at a disadvantage and put them in their place.

So it's at the Air Force Academy. It's on the streets of Baghdad. It's an endemic situation. It's a cultural problem. It's not Arnold Schwarzenegger's problem alone. It's a cultural problem.

THOMAS: Let me share something with you. Dianne Feinstein (search), who is certainly a feminist, a liberal, a Democrat, said today…I think it's very important this debate.

She said, "Your personal behavior does affect you in public office. I'd like to believe and hope that we elect the best among us, not some of the least among us."

Now many feminists, including the organization you once headed, the National Organization for Women, gave Bill Clinton a free pass, because they liked his politics. I'm wondering if people are compromising their principles because of the politics on this.

IRELAND: You know, I keep hearing that, and it keeps not being true.

We said his behavior was indefensible. I used every possible way to say it was reprehensible. And just as we're hearing in this campaign, there is often a distinction made between somebody's policy positions and their personal behavior. I, like Senator Feinstein, would rather see consistency.

And at the same time, you know, the YWCA is looking at the overall picture of women's economic empowerment. This hurts women. I hope Arnold Schwarzenegger's apology was sincere. And I hope that if he gets into the governor's mansion, he'll do the right things on policies.

THOMAS: David, come back to that in just a second. But I do want to ask you a question about compromise to follow up on what Patricia Ireland said.


THOMAS: I want to know whether a lot of Republicans in California are compromising their principles, especially on social issues…abortion, gay rights, some of these other things…just for the sake of having somebody who wears a Republican label become governor of California? Does that bother you?

DREIER: Absolutely not, Cal. Absolutely not. And let me just say that…and thanks for getting back to the issue of this campaign.

One point six million Californians signed this, not because of the recall petitions, not because of social issues, but because of the vacuum of leadership and the fiscal mismanagement in the state.

Fiscally conservative solutions to the economic challenges that we face in California are essential.

My point on Pat's statement earlier was that Arnold Schwarzenegger is really not a political person. He obviously has experience, but as Maria said last night…and I was standing there with them…she said it takes a strong and brave person to apologize.

And I will tell you that Pat said this was a good, you know, political decision. Arnold made this decision himself, and he was immediate in coming out to make it. He wanted to make this very clear.

THOMAS: I'm Cal Thomas, filling in for the ailing Sean Hannity. Get well, Sean.

DREIER: By the way, Sean is never ailing. You should never say that, Cal.

THOMAS: I hope that's not politically incorrect. I haven't offended some group. If I have, I want to apologize right now.

DREIER: You offended Sean.

THOMAS: Well, hopefully he's taken some tea and hot toddies and gone to bed.

Patricia, let me ask you about this sexual politics. We saw it with Clarence Thomas. We saw it with Newt Gingrich, and now we're seeing it with Arnold Schwarzenegger, these last minute accusations, dredging up sometimes 30 years old. Some of these women in the L.A. Times story unnamed, four of the six.

I just wonder if this is the kind of politics that you're comfortable with?

IRELAND: Well, I'm not comfortable with the behavior that's alleged. Three of the six, actually. One has now come forward herself.

And The Times said this was not brought to them by anybody's campaign, that it was not something that was dug up in that way.

But I don't think it's…you know, it's not a pleasant topic. I try to think what would it be like if it were reversed? What if some woman were running and it was alleged that as recently as the year 2000, she'd gone on an elevator and put her hands down some guy's pants.

DREIER: But Patricia, what about…What about the timing on this? A woman said to me the other day, why didn't this come out after the Oui magazine interview in August?


DREIER: Why is it that they waited until the very end to all of a sudden have this and these other shoes drop?

And you know, on the 24th of July to the San Francisco Chronicle Bob Mulholland, who is, in fact, the Democratic operative in this state, said, "We're already shopping the tabloids, and that's why Arnold is not going to run for governor."

And so this was anticipated, and he actually had his hands all over it dating back to before Arnold even made his August 6 announcement.

IRELAND: I would watch talking about where he's had his hands all over. But I do think that there is...

DREIER: This is Bob Mulholland.

IRELAND: There's an element of politics to this. I think that Congressman Dreier is right, that Californians are going to look at a lot of issues.

Women voters are going to look at a lot of different issues. And one of the more interesting things is that...

DREIER: He has the school programs. They're very important, the after school programs. The very...

COLMES: We can debate the issues. But I want to say this as a Democrat, I'm uncomfortable with these charges coming out three or four, five days before the election. I am not an Arnold supporter, as Congressman Dreier. He wouldn't be my choice.

DREIER: We're still working on you.

COLMES: I've not been Hannitized yet.

DREIER: You have to come out here, though, too.

IRELAND: There's not time. The election is almost over.

COLMES: However, I won't be out there in time for the election.

But, you know, I don't like recall. I'm not an Arnold supporter. However, I am suspect of these. Three, four days.

This should have come out immediately if there were these charges. I don't know who prodded these women to have these allegations come out.

I'm not minimizing that these are serious allegations, but the timing is suspect. And it's the dirtiest kind of politics.

DREIER: I agree, Alan. It's fair of you, Alan. And I appreciate what you're saying.

Basically Patricia has just said the same thing. Obviously the timing is very suspicious here from the perspective of virtually everyone involved. And the other thing is we know this is a pattern that has gone on for two decades. The Davis campaigns have done this in the past.

COLMES: Well, I don't know who did it.

But let me also bring up quickly these Nazi allegations, the allegations that he had respect for Hitler, didn't support what he stood for but said, "My hero..."

DREIER: That is absolutely outrageous, Alan. I will tell you that they are outrageous and they're, to me, very, very offensive. And I will tell you this is something that I think Gray Davis has handled very poorly, his response, in which he said that, you know, he's really disturbed that someone might be...

COLMES: Patricia Ireland, quickly. I want to get Patricia's comment.

DREIER: Let me just say that when he was 17 years old he kicked a neo-Nazi group out of Gras near his hometown who were pushing this stuff. This guy is a virulent anti, anti-Nazi. And he stood firmly.

COLMES: We're just out of time. I want to give Patricia a chance to respond to this.

IRELAND: You know, the YWCA does a lot of after school programs. I'm in favor of those. I'll be interested to see, as David Dreier says, this nonpolitical man to go to…if he gets to Sacramento how is he going to pay for all of these programs like after school care. It's not...

DREIER: I didn't quite say nonpolitical but he has not been a political...

THOMAS: OK, we've got to go. Listen, thank you both. Congressman Dreier, Patricia Ireland. Good to see you both again.

DREIER: Don't forget to vote on Tuesday. We need to get our vote out. OK?

THOMAS: I can't vote. I'm here in the East.

DREIER: I'm not talking to you.

THOMAS: I know you're not.

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