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THE STATE | RECALL NOTEBOOK

Feinstein Says Davis Has Changed

September 04, 2003|From Times Staff Reports

Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Tuesday that Gov. Gray Davis was a changed man from the one who compared her with Leona Helmsley during a bitter 1992 U.S. Senate primary. Asked by Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball" Wednesday if Davis had treated her with respect as a colleague, Feinstein replied dryly, "Increasingly so."

She added, "Could the governor have probably worked better with the Legislature? I think so."

But she said the Davis she talks with by phone now is friendlier. "He has changed," she said. "I think he's had to come to grips with a number of things.... I find he's a very different man."

In her most pointed criticism of Arnold Schwarzenegger to date, Feinstein faulted him for avoiding Wednesday's debate and registered her distaste with his risque remarks in a 1977 interview with Oui magazine about participating in group sex.

"Here's a movie action hero, and he's going to duck the first debate?" Feinstein said.

On the subject of the magazine article, she said, "I don't think group sex justifies promoting a movie, if that is what he is saying." Feinstein was questioning Schwarzenegger's explanation of the article. He has said both that he didn't remember the interview and that he made up some of his more outrageous comments to promote the mystique of bodybuilding as well as his movie "Pumping Iron," which was about the sport.

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Campus Protester Eggs Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger confronted the first protesters of his campaign during a Cal State Long Beach appearance Wednesday that left him with egg on his collar if not his face.

An egg thrown from a crowd struck Schwarzenegger on the left side of his neck as he arrived on campus to address an estimated 800 students shortly after 1 p.m.

"This guy owes me bacon now," Schwarzenegger joked afterward. He said such dissent was part of free speech. "That is why I love this country," he said.

His speech was briefly drowned out by two dozen protesters, many of them student members of the Latino civil rights group La Raza, who chanted, "Arnold, no! You must go!" and, "Go home, Arnold!" But the rest of the crowd, which included members of university Republican clubs from across Southern California, drowned out the protesters with a chant of "Arnold, Arnold!"

Alejandro Negrete, 22, a senior in Chicano studies and member of the campus branch of La Raza, was one of two dozen students who heckled Schwarzenegger and held signs as he spoke. Their signs read "No on Prop. 54," which would outlaw the collection of racial information, and "Arnold Supported Prop. 187."

"We're just trying to get the message out," Negrete said.

University police said they made one arrest, apparently of a student who brought a bullhorn to the speech and yelled questions about Schwarzenegger's 2001 meeting with then-Enron Chief Executive Ken Lay. (Schwarzenegger has said he doesn't remember the meeting.)

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Debate Sponsor Sticks to Advance-Question Plan

Rep. David Dreier (R-San Dimas), who is co-chairing Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign, requested Wednesday that the California Broadcasters Assn. reverse its decision to provide candidates with questions in advance of the group's upcoming debate.

"It is our belief that spontaneous questions will provide a greater opportunity for voters to observe the candidates is [sic] an unrehearsed way," Dreier wrote in a letter to Stan Statham, the association's president.

Schwarzenegger, who has agreed to participate only in the broadcasters debate, has come under criticism for refusing to participate in Wednesday's Contra Costa Times debate, in which questions were not provided in advance.

Statham said his group would not bend to Schwarzenegger's wishes.

The association did change the date of its debate, however, pushing it back from Sept. 17 to Sept. 24. Asked why he chose the broadcasters association's debate rather than the forum held Wednesday, Schwarzenegger said, "When I was a body builder, I didn't go to Mr. Venice Beach."

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4 Major-Market TV Stations Air Debate

Californians were able to tune in to four major-market television stations across the state late Wednesday afternoon to watch two uninterrupted hours of political debate.

The forum was televised live from 4 to 6 p.m. by KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles, KTVU in the Bay Area, KXTV Sacramento, KSWB San Diego and a number of smaller stations throughout the state.

Marty Kaplan, an associate dean at the Annenberg School for Communication at USC, said such coverage was important in a state where most people say they get their news from TV.

"So if you have this airing in four major markets, that's pretty decent," he said. "That takes you over 50% of the state's voters."

News directors at stations that broadcast the Walnut Creek debate live said deciding to forego normal programming, and the paid advertising that goes with it, was not hard.

"This is the kind of thing that's a no-brainer for us," said Ron Comings, news director at KXTV-Sacramento.

The idea for the debate originated with the Contra Costa Times, but KTVU, a Fox affiliate, took the lead role in shopping it to other broadcasters. The "biggest thing we keep hearing from people is that they don't hear enough from the candidates on the issues," said KTVU news director Ed Chapuis. "And we accomplished that."

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