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"The actor, asked by Hannity if he supported drug legalization
[actually marijuana legalization - DG ], called it "a bad idea" but
added, "I would legalize medical (marijuana)." Stutzman said that he
supports the idea of obtaining the drug with a doctor's prescription
but he has taken "no position" on distribution of medical marijuana in

Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed medical marijuana and tough
gun control laws Wednesday while opposing gay marriage, "partial
birth" abortion and additional oil drilling off California's coast.

Aiming to stake out the political center, Schwarzenegger hit
conservative talk radio to dabble in a menu of social issues -- but
left open questions about the details of his positions in a variety of
controversial areas.

Schwarzenegger, in an appearance on the syndicated radio show hosted
by Sean Hannity, briefly tackled more than a dozen issues in a matter
of minutes.

Schwarzenegger sounded confident, telling syndicated radio talk show
that "I cannot wait to get into office on Oct. 7."

But the actor devoted just a few words to major policy positions,
leaving his campaign staff to explain the details -- and handing
ammunition to his opponents who say he is simply running out the clock
on the election and has not delivered a position on Proposition 54,
the proposed ban on racial-data gathering by the state.

"The election is historic. The voters are obviously upset. They
deserve to know what direction

your candidate is taking the state," said John Stoos, a strategist
with Republican state Sen. Tom McClintock, who is battling with
Schwarzenegger for the GOP vote. "That is the dilemma of the Arnold
campaign. What is Arnold? Pick your issue and it's the same thing . .
. shifts and shuffles."

With just 41 days left before voters go to the polls, the
actor-candidate --

and his staff -- are under increasing pressure to detail his views on
a wide range of subjects. As of now, Schwarzenegger will be the only
holdout at the first statewide debate at the Walnut Creek Regional
Arts Center on Sept. 3.

Schwarzenegger's staff acknowledges that, while he has begun to hit
the airwaves, he has avoided detailed, one-on-one interviews with
newspaper and television political reporters. His spokesman, Rob
Stutzman, said, "He will. Reporters should be as patient as the
readers of their newspapers."

In Wednesday's radio interviews, Schwarzenegger took a number of
potentially controversial positions that could widen the gulf between
him and the right wing of his party.

Asked about a bill that would provide driver's licenses for
undocumented immigrants, Schwarzenegger said, "I vote no on that." But
he did not rule out providing taxpayer-funded services to such
immigrants, saying, "that's a complicated issue, because what we have
to do is find a way of including them. There's amnesty deals."

He suggested he had deep sympathy for immigrants in such situations,

"These are people that are working here, many of them are working here
for many, many, many years, and doing a great job. And so we have to
figure out how we handle that."

Asked if Schwarzenegger supported amnesty programs, Stutzman said,
"When you simply throw open amnesty, you create another incentive for
more people to come into the country and not be documented."

SUPPORT FOR BRADY BILL On gun control, the actor stressed that he
supported the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right of citizens
to bear arms. But he told Hannity he also supports the Brady Bill --
signed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, which imposes a five-day
waiting period and background check on gun purchases - - and the
assault-weapons ban, a sweeping law to prohibit sale and possession of
19 assault weapons, also signed by Clinton.

Schwarzenegger added that he would like to "close the loophole" that
allows unregulated firearms sales at gun shows.

Asked if gun owners might see a contradiction in his support for
strong restrictions on purchase and possession of guns, Stutzman said
his positions do not "infringe on their constitutional rights to
firearms . . . . It puts in place prudent measures such as background
checks to make sure criminals aren't buying guns."

Stutzman said he doesn't know if Schwarzenegger is a gun owner

On the issue of abortion, Schwarzenegger told Hannity he was
pro-choice -- but asked if he supports a form of late-term abortion
that opponents call "partial birth" abortion, the candidate said he
did not.

Stutzman, asked if the candidate then ruled out the late-term abortion
under all circumstances -- rape, incest and danger to the life of the
mother --

said Schwarzenegger is against the procedure. But Stutzman said that
did not present a contradiction with his pro-choice position, saying
that "women can exercise their right of choice through different
procedures than one that involves an abortion outside the womb."

PARENTAL NOTIFICATION On parental notification laws, which require
minors to get the consent of their parents before getting birth
control or abortions, the actor said he generally favors such laws
except "in some cases, where there is abuse in the family or problems
in the family, then the court should decide."

Stutzman said the actor hasn't stated a position yet on whether
parental consent should be required for minors to obtain birth control.

Schwarzenegger told Hannity he supports "domestic partnership," but
marriage should be "between a man and a woman." Asked if he supports
Vermont-style civil unions, Stutzman said Schwarzenegger supports the
current law in California on domestic partnership and is still
studying a bill pending in the Legislature that would give sweeping
new rights to registered domestic partners.

The actor, asked by Hannity if he supported drug legalization
[actually, marijuana legalization - DG ], called it "a bad idea" but
added, "I would legalize medical (marijuana)." Stutzman said that he
supports the idea of obtaining the drug with a doctor's prescription
but he has taken "no position" on distribution of medical marijuana in

Schwarzenegger also said he would support "limited" school vouchers,
which Stutzman said means giving parents the opportunity to move their
children within the public school system if their own local school is
lagging behind.

And, the candidate said, "I believe in prayer in school, and I believe
it should be up to the schools . . . in what direction they want to

Moving to environmental issues, the actor said he would "absolutely
not" support moves to expand oil drilling off the California coast.
"We should stop the oil drilling, and I think our state government and
federal government should negotiate to buy back the oil leases."

On economic issues, the actor said he would agree not to raise taxes,
except in a state "emergency," and added his first act in Sacramento
would be to "put a spending cap on those politicians. Because they
can't help themselves. They're addicts. They should go into an
addiction place, because it's ridiculous to spend money that you don't

But McClintock, reacting on Fox, immediately lambasted Schwarzenegger
for failing to make the no-tax pledge.

"The last time you want to raise taxes is in an emergency. That's why
you maintain budget reserves," McClintock said.

And the actor was also the target of other critics who said he hasn't
answered enough questions about his campaign -- or his positions..

"He's as phony as his hair color," said Art Torres, chairman of the
state Democratic Party on Wednesday. "(He's saying) I'm so rich, I
need money from no one, and he's hired professional fund-raisers who
work for George Bush, and takes checks from the same "special
interests" he's been fighting against."

GOP consultant Wayne Johnson, who advised businessman Bill Simon, said
Schwarzenegger will still need to fill in the details of his business
and economic plans -- which he said will drive the election.

"It has to come down to specifics," he said. "I just don't think you
can hum for 40 days and 40 nights,

Pubdate: Thu, 28 Aug 2003
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2003 Hearst Communications Inc.
Contact: letters@sfchronicle.com
Website: Home
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