Schwarzenegger Taps Experts for Campaign

Financial and investment guru Warren Buffett (search) will serve as actor Arnold Schwarzenegger's senior financial and economic adviser in his gubernatorial bid, the Schwarzenegger for Governor campaign announced Wednesday.

"I have known Arnold for years and know he'll be a great governor. It is critical to the rest of the nation that California's economic crisis be solved, and I think Arnold will get that job done," said Buffett, who is estimated to be worth more than $30 billion.

Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., (search) an insurance and investment holding company, will help Schwarzenegger tap other prominent business leaders and economists to advise the candidate on the economic issues facing California.

The announcement came as the Schwarzenegger camp announced new roles for several former top aides to GOP Gov. Pete Wilson (search), who has been working closely with the actor in his bid to replace Gov. Gray Davis in a recall election scheduled for Oct. 7.

Fox News has confirmed that former Wilson chief of staff Bob White will run the Schwarzenegger campaign and a senior adviser will be Patricia Cleary, a top aide in Wilson's administration who is taking a leave of absence from a large hospital firm, Tenet Healthcare Corporation. Marty Wilson, a top Wilson political adviser, will also join the campaign.

Wilson became Schwarzenegger's campaign co-chairman last week and the arrival of many of his top aides was expected. Until now, another Wilson aide, George Gorton, has been the principal campaign strategist, but the Schwarzenegger team long intended to bring on more senior advisers well-versed in California politics.

"I don't think it's any surprise he's looking for professional assistance in a campaign from people who have a pretty good track record," Wilson told Fox News. "They've won four in a row. Four and O is pretty good in statewide races."

Wilson denied his staff was taking over the Schwarzenegger's campaign or would dictate policy in Sacramento if the actor wins.

"It is going to be his administration, his campaign," Wilson said. "He will formulate his positions."

Democrats are likely to highlight Schwarzenegger's ties to Wilson's campaign in a further effort to boost Latino turnout in the Oct. 7 recall election. Wilson led the campaign for passage of Proposition 187 in 1994 that denied social, educational and health care services to illegal aliens.

The proposition passed with 59 percent, 5 percent more than Wilson won in his bid for re-election. But the courts ruled it unconstitutional and since then, the measure has been portrayed as a divisive move that alienated Latino voters from the GOP.

That has been true in some cases, but the issue has never proved to be the liability Democrats have suggested.

"They certainly don't fear it," Wilson said of the Schwarzenegger's campaign's attitude toward a debate on 187. "They have a longer memory apparently than the Democrats. One-eighty-seven was a landslide victory, 60 to 40 and the people who voted for it are not racists as the Democrats are contending. To the contrary, they were people who were angry, mad as hell at Washington for failing to control the border."

Wilson remains a respected political figure within Republican circles, as does former Los Angeles Mayor Dick Riordan, a close behind-the-scenes adviser to Schwarzenegger. It was Riordan, for example, who lobbied hard for a big role for Cleary, who also worked in his administration as well.

Wilson's staff is the only one he can call upon with contemporary experience in state government. Republicans have lost the two races for governor since Wilson left office in 1998, and experts associated with the failed campaigns of GOP nominees Dan Lungren and Bill Simon are not in high demand.

In an exclusive interview with Fox News on Tuesday, Riordan said Schwarzenegger will rely heavily on the advice of top political hands in California.

"I think Arnold is a brilliant businessman," Riordan said. "I've worked with him on a lot of things. I've never seen anybody get things so quickly once he puts his mind to it. He surrounds himself with experts in health care, transportation, and housing and particularly with budget and finance. He's going to be a great governor and he's going to have people around him who will help him be a great governor."

Fox News' Major Garrett contributed to this report.