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Actor Beatty shadows California's Schwarzenegger

By Marty Graham
Reuters
Saturday, November 5, 2005; 10:06 PM

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Liberal actor Warren Beatty on Saturday shadowed Republican California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as he traversed Southern California seeking support for four initiatives days before a special election.

Reenacting a technique that helped bring him to office two years ago, Schwarzenegger set out on a bus tour of four cities to greet friendly audiences. This time, the former "Terminator" star jockeyed for attention with Beatty on the sidelines.

No actor wants to be overshadowed, so Schwarzenegger's staff blocked the star of "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Dick Tracy" from entering the governor's first stop at a private aircraft hangar in San Diego.

"We have an A-rated actor in here while they have a B-rated actor out there," San Diego County Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring told the crowd.

Schwarzenegger is hoping to win support on initiatives extending the trial period before teachers get tenure; changing the way California draws its legislative districts; boosting his powers over the state budget; and limiting union political contributions.

The measures are trailing in most recent polls.

Beatty, seen as a possible future gubernatorial candidate, made himself available to the media and to crowds, in contrast to the Austrian-born Schwarzenegger.

Schwarzenegger's appearances were tightly controlled, with audiences picked from local Republican groups and reporters and political opponents kept at arms length. He started his "bus tour" riding in an SUV with the media following on buses.

Beatty and his wife, actress Annette Bening, took their time as they greeted crowds and posed for photos with dozens of people outside each event.

"I was friends with President Ronald Reagan and he once said to me, 'I don't know how anybody can serve in public office without being an actor,"' Beatty said.

At the first stop of the tour, Schwarzenegger supporters surrounded an impromptu Beatty news conference, shouting slogans to drown him out. Schwarzenegger campaign spokesman Todd Harris asked them to stop yelling, only to be told another staffer had told them to disrupt Beatty's discourse.

"This is just a sideshow," said Schwarzenegger advisor Mike Murphy. "Warren Beatty is our stunt disrupter this morning."

© 2005 Reuters