Trail Dust: Test Time for Schwarzenegger

This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys," February 28, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) is looking at a Super Tuesday of his own, and that's the subject of this week's trail dust.

Californians hit the polls Tuesday to vote on two propositions which Schwarzenegger says are key to fixing the state's budget mess. Proposition 57, a $15 billion bond measure, and, as luck would have it, Proposition 58, a balanced budget act which restricts for future growth. Both have to pass.

Here's Governor Arnold selling them.


GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: Two measures on the March ballot are critical to resolve the state's fiscal crisis. Prop 57 refinances past deficit borrowing at low interest rates, and Prop 58 tears up the credit card for good.

Please join me in voting yes on 57 and 58.


BARNES: Boy, what a great ad. I mean, he ought to do Bush's ads.

Now, you were out in Sacramento. What's going on?

MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Yes, well, I, Arnold was here, of course, in Washington at the time. But I did visit his office. And sitting there in a box is the sword that he used during the movie...

BARNES: Movie.

KONDRACKE: ... "Conan the, the, the Barbarian" movie. And I picked it up, and it's very heavy, you know.

BARNES: All right. Wait a minute, though, Mort. What about these propositions?

KONDRACKE: Well, I was little, little ... local color.

BARNES: Yes, thanks.

KONDRACKE: Anyway, the most recent Field and Los Angeles Times polls show that Proposition 57, which is the more controversial of the two, are just on the edge of 50 percent. But if you notice, the No number is, is pretty low, so the undecideds should break in Arnold's favor enough to, to put 57 over the top.

The, in fact there are no, there is no No campaign. There are no No ads. State Treasurer Phil Angelitas ... who's, who's, wants to run against ... Arnold in, in 2006 ... and your friend Tom McClintock (search) ...


KONDRACKE: ... the conservative Republican are getting themselves on talk shows and stuff like that to talk up against, against these proposition. But they're not getting anywhere. And this weekend, Arnold is leading a bus caravan...


KONDRACKE: ... around the state with, with all kinds of people on it ... Dianne Feinstein... might ... for a little while ... yes.

BARNES: Yes, yes.

KONDRACKE: And, and the California Teachers Association is there, and all the anti-tax people are there...


KONDRACKE: ... so he's got such a huge ... coalition ... that he, I think he's going to win.

BARNES: Yes, what, yes, it looks like one of the great campaigners of all times. Let me mention three things. One, have you seen his job approval numbers?


BARNES: I mean, number? I mean, just look at it. What is it, 65 percent? I mean, that must have, have Bush and all the Democrats drooling when they see something like that.

Number two, I think he's found a new way to govern. I mean, the legislature's Democratic, and they're not going to give him much, a little bit, but not much. Go to the referendum process. He can win all of those, and govern that way effectively.

And lastly, you know, he came out for a constitutional amendment that would allow non-native born Americans to run for president. Now, of course, they can't. I'm all for it.

Now, look at the situation we have now. Arnold, who's been here about 30 years, and is obviously a very productive citizen, and now as a governor can't run, because he was born in Austria, and yet Yassir Arem Hamdi, one of the guys who's been designated an enemy combatant, who happened to be born in Louisiana, stayed there a few days before going to Saudi Arabia, where he became a Saudi, he can run for president. That's a crazy, a crazy... system.

KONDRACKE: That is a constitutional amendment that I would like to see President Bush endorse...

BARNES: Yes, yes.

KONDRACKE: ... and, you know, and it ought to have bipartisan support and go right through fast, because Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, born in Canada, you know, would make it a, a bipartisan thing, it wouldn't just be Arnold.


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