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Schwarzenegger Candidacy Called Still Possible

California and the West

March 08, 2001|MARK Z. BARABAK | TIMES POLITICAL WRITER

Less than a day after taking him out of the race for California governor, a Hollywood publicist put Arnold Schwarzenegger back in the speculative mix Wednesday by saying the actor's mind "is not made up."

"He doesn't want anyone drawing conclusions he is running. He doesn't want anyone to draw the conclusion he is not running," said spokeswoman Jill Eisenstadt.

On Tuesday evening, Eisenstadt cited family and film obligations that will keep the actor tied up at least through 2004 and said "the timing's not right" for a Schwarzenegger candidacy.

Referring to a run for governor, she said Tuesday: "You can rule it out at this time."

On Wednesday, Eisenstadt said her information was outdated. She said the actor was in Alaska on Tuesday, and when he arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday he contacted her to clarify his thinking.

"Obviously, there's a lot of contractual obligations and other obstacles," Eisenstadt said. But "that does not necessarily count him out. He's working to sort things out."

She said Schwarzenegger, who has long been active in Republican politics, will "come to a conclusion within the next couple of months."

Garry South, chief strategist for Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, seized upon the contradictory statements to accuse Schwarzenegger of displaying "the same kind of indecisiveness he wrongly attributed to the governor" in Davis' handling of the state's electricity crisis.

"We'll be ready for him if he comes at us," South said. "We don't roll over and play dead for anybody, regardless of the size of his bankroll or biceps."

Secretary of State Bill Jones and investment banker William E. Simon Jr., both Republicans, are also exploring bids for governor.

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