OAKLAND, Calif. – Actor Warren Beatty (search) leveled a blistering political assault on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday night, accusing him of governing "by show, by spin, by cosmetics and photos ops."
Beatty made his remarks at a convention of the California Nurses Association (search), an organization that has emerged in the last year as one of Schwarzenegger's most vociferous critics.
Beatty, a Democrat and longtime political activist who has been mentioned as a possible challenger to Schwarzenegger next year, did not announce his candidacy as many in the boisterous crowd had hoped. But he indicated he hadn't ruled out a run, and said he would continue to speak out on important issues.
"I believe if a private citizen is able to affect public opinion in a constructive way he doesn't have to be an elected public servant to perform a public service," Beatty said.
Beatty's presence added Hollywood-style glitz to the convention in some ways reminiscent of the recall election that brought Schwarzenegger to power. Beatty attended the convention with his wife, actress Annette Bening (search), who joined him on stage after his speech. Actor Sean Penn was seated at Beatty's table.
Beatty made several pointed jabs at Schwarzenegger, a former champion bodybuilder and fellow Hollywood celebrity who Beatty said had taught him years ago to "to do 15 repetitions rather than 10 because you get a better look that way."
But Beatty used most of his address to rail against the Republican governor's "year of reform" ballot initiatives in the Nov. 8 special election. Schwarzenegger is pushing several measures that would curb the power of the Democrat-controlled Legislature and the state's powerful public employee unions.
Beatty, who has criticized the governor several times this year, called the initiatives "union busting" and "fascist."
Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Margita Thompson said "we don't care that much about Warren Beatty, and based on his ticket sales from the past generation, I doubt anyone else does either."
In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, Schwarzenegger called Beatty's recent attacks silly and suggested Beatty was jealous of his success in politics.
The crowd Thursday night frequently interrupted Beatty with wild cheers and standing ovations, yelling "Run, Warren Run!" and "Stop Arnold!"
Beatty played a U.S. senator in the 1998 movie "Bulworth" and entertained the idea of running for the presidency six years ago.
A statewide Field Poll taken in June showed that just 24 percent of California voters would be inclined to elect Beatty governor, while 53 percent said they weren't inclined and 23 percent had no opinion.