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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Arnold Under Fire for Campaign Contributions

Aired September 4, 2003 - 19:02   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: No shortage of debates. The debate du jour yesterday featured the cast of characters? The drama that is the California gubernatorial recall race. The star actor was a no show, but does that matter?
Today Arnold Schwarzenegger had a new issue to deal with. With more on that, here's CNN's Frank Buckley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When he first got into the race, Arnold Schwarzenegger said he could go it alone when it came to funding his campaign.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I'm rich enough that I don't have to take anyone's money.

BUCKLEY: But Schwarzenegger is accenting money from contributors. So far public records indicate he's received more than $1 million in campaign contributions.

Examples, a developer William Lyon (ph) and his wife gave a combined $142,000 to the campaign and to the recall committee. A political action committee called The New Majority gave $21,200. Businesses have also contributed, like the grocery store company Food 4 Less.

All of it is legal but seemingly a contradiction from his public position that his campaign would be largely self-financed. Now Schwarzenegger says he simply misspoke.

SCHWARZENEGGER: It was my mistake because I was not articulate enough to explain that.

BUCKLEY: His actual position on campaign contributions, Schwarzenegger says, is that he will accent moneys from businesses and individuals but not from Native American tribes with gaming interests or from unions.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I just feel that, you know, this is the most likely place that you have to negotiate is with those people and I don't want to take any money from it.

BUCKLEY: But on that count Schwarzenegger had to concede the campaign recently accented a contribution of $2,500 from a law enforcement union, the Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs. Schwarzenegger says that contribution will now be returned. Republican political consultant Arnie Steinberg says Schwarzenegger has put himself in a difficult position.

ARNIE STEINBERG, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: For Arnold what's at issue is the bigger problem of credibility. What he's got to do is be consistent, whether it's with campaign contributions or anything else. I think he started out at the right point. I think the tack he took was correct in campaign contributions and I think when he reversed, he started digging a bottomless pit there.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BUCKLEY: Schwarzenegger says he's accepting these outside campaign contributions because he claims so many people want to support his campaign.

He continues to insist, however, that the majority of his funds will come from himself and from his wife, Maria Shriver. On that point so far he is accurate. So far he and his wife have donate $2 million to the campaign, compared to the $1 million from outside contributors -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Frank Buckley in Southern California. Frank, thank you for that.

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