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THE RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE

Schwarzenegger Will Stump for Bush in Ohio

October 27, 2004|Jordan Rau | Times Staff Writer

VACAVILLE, Calif. — Announcing plans to campaign for President Bush in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger offered one of his strongest statements in support of Bush's anti-terror efforts, comparing them to former President Ronald Reagan's battles against communism.

"This reminds me of the days when Ronald Reagan was in office and he was fighting communism," Schwarzenegger told reporters Tuesday outside of a Mexican restaurant in this Central Valley town, where he was campaigning for Gary Podesto, a Republican candidate for the state Senate.

"There were some people out there criticizing him [Reagan], saying 'This is crazy, he's a warmonger' and all of this kind of criticisms. And in the end, he proved right. He wore them down because he showed great leadership, and communism fell apart.

Schwarzenegger said Bush is in the same position today, with "a chance to really wear down the terrorism and to fight it and to conquer it."

The governor, popular in California, had expressed some reluctance earlier this year to campaign for Bush outside the state, saying he needed to tend to state business. But Schwarzenegger said Tuesday that he wanted "to be a support system to him."

Though they are "not in sync" on many issues, "we are Republicans and have to support one another," he said.

Schwarzenegger has sponsored a bodybuilding tournament, the Arnold Classic, in Columbus for many years. He also operates a branch of his after-school charity there and keeps the tank he drove in the Austrian army at a military museum in a Columbus suburb.

Not to be outdone, Democrats will roll out a celebrity to accompany Sen. John F. Kerry as he campaigns in Ohio on Thursday. Rock musician Bruce Springsteen is scheduled to appear with the Democratic nominee at rallies in Columbus and in Madison, Wis. Springsteen is also set to join Kerry at an election-eve rally in Cleveland Nov. 1.

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