Kerry: 'No new nuances'

A mostly political Weblog.
Sept. 16 2003 4:41 PM

L.A. Times Poll Scandal?

Plus: Recall Wreck Roundup

(Continued from Page 5)

I'm not saying this is a likely scenario. I'm saying it's a potential scenario. It's a potential scenario even if the idea hasn't occurred to them yet. It's a potential scenario even if they deny it now. For that reason, it's a potential scenario California voters need to take into account. As the national attention given to Schwarzenegger's run suggests, we may not be just voting on a governor here. Whatever Article II says.  12:50 P.M.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Daniel Drezner blogs a seemingly scientific online poll  showing Schwarzenegger with a big lead when you ask voters to choose from all 135 candidates. ... Is it possible the many minor candidates suck significant support away from Bustamante? Or is it, as a poll sponsor says, that when faced with a long list undecided voters just  "gravitate to the most visible candidate," namely Schwarzenegger?... 1:45 P.M.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

******KF Global Exclusive******Arnold's Home Repairs:

Tonight on kausfiles ... Home Repair Ripoffs, and How to Avoid Them! Rule #1: Don't hire Arnold Schwarzenegger! ... Kf'scrack investigative unit has been on alert to bring you the Arnold scandals (and semi-scandals!) that the LAT's John Carroll and the tabloids'  David Pecker  find too interesting to print. Today, the unit traveled all the way to Beverly Hills' Museum of Television and Radio. The purpose? To find and view the much-rumored-about episode of the Tonight Show in which young bodybuilder/actor Schwarzenegger tells Johnny Carson how he ripped off Southern California homeowners in his day job as a construction worker. Thanks to a helpful e-mailing source, I had what I thought was the right show date. Thanks to a helpful librarian (and the facility's quite impressive set-up), I was viewing the episode in question within fifteen minutes of parking my car.

Upshot: It's not as bad as I'd heard. But it's not good.

Here's what the tape shows: It's 1981. Schwarzenegger's Conan the Barbarian is about to come out, and he has a fitness book to sell. He entertains Carson with the story of how he and a bodybuilder friend, whom I'll call XXXXXX, got "lucky" when there was an earthquake in L.A. in the early 1970s. Schwarzenegger says he and XXXXXX immediately advertised in the L.A. Times  as "European special bricklayers." XXXXXX actually knew how to lay bricks, Schwarzenegger says, but he didn't. Schwarzenegger says his job was to come up with an "estimate" and negotiate the price with the homeowner. He continues:

SCHWARZENEGGER: In the meantime, XXXXXX climbed up on the roof to check the chimney--and he, of course, is a very strong guy and a [weight] lifter--he pushed all the chimneys over so they fell down. So these people come and say 'Oh thank you so much for helping us. This could have fallen on somebody's head, you know. Thank you for doing it for us.

CARSON: What a racket. You go and push chimneys down and then rebuild them.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Exactly. ... [Emph. added]

"So we had a business going very successfully for a year," Schwarzenegger concludes.

It's lucky a lot of California voters aren't paranoid, self-pitying homeowners! ... As a non-homeowner, I would put this in the revealing-but-not-fatal scandal category. It does seem to reflect a Schwarzenegger habit of seeing other people as marks. But you, the reader, make the call. ... I suppose Schwarzenegger 1) could say he was just coming up with another "ludicrous" and "outrageous" story to promote a film. Or 2) he could say XXXXXX was just giving the chimneys a severe European stress test to see if they had been structurally damaged by the quake. That's not Carson's interpretation, though. ...