Schwarzenegger campaign response: In fact, when contacted by kausfiles, Schwarzenegger campaign spokesperson Rob Stutzman immediately offered Explanation #1, saying "the nature of these shows is you go on and joke around," and noting that there is "no evidence that [there's] any truth to it." (Just his candidate's say-so!) According to Stutzman, it
"sounds like Arnold joking around with Johnny Carson. I'd chalk it up to schtick."
Efforts to reach XXXXXX were unsuccessful, which is why, in a surfeit of caution, I've left his name out for now. (Schwarzenegger did not leave the name out when he talked about him on national television.) XXXXXX--if you are reading this, I've left my number on your work answering machine (I can't find your home phone). Or you can email me at Mickey_Kaus@msn.com . I would love to hear your side of Arnold's story. ...
Update: On the O'Reilly Factor, Schwarzenegger charged that the Davis campaign is behind negative memes like the recent Oui story:
O'REILLY: ...The L.A. Times has been very hard on you. They brought up your father again and his past, in World War II. They brought up the "Oui" magazine interview 25 years ago. Are you surprised that the L.A. Times and some other media, New York Times here to a lesser extent, have gone after you personally?
SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, not really, because I always knew that Davis knows how to run a negative campaign. All of the stories are fed by the campaign headquarters, I guarantee you that.
Does Schwarzenegger really believe this convenient, self-pitying Clintonesque lie? Probably not. Does he think a small elite still controls and makes the news? Possibly. ... Hello! Mr. Arnold sir! There's an Internet! (Not to mention a Museum of Television and Radio, with valet parking!) The Oui story, for example, broke into the open when a kf reader in Texas decided to sell an old magazine he had in order to help meet his mortgage payment. Here's the backstory. Gray Davis's campaign had nothing to do with it. ... More: An alert and knowledgeable kf reader suggests Schwarzenegger is trying to set the stage for the LAT's long-awaited, much-promised, highly anticipated and mysteriously delayed major multi-reporter investigative piece covering the Premiere-like ground of his personal behavior. ... Was this a smart fight for Schwarzenegger to pick--or will attacking Times editors' liberal bias serve to get their backs up? If I were A.S., I might have left things to run their normal course. The poorhouses are filled with people who bet on the L.A. Times' reportorial guts.
Pecker-baiting bonus! Maybe if the CEO of tabloid publisher AMI--the aptly-named David Pecker--decided to actually cover the major celebrity-politico event of the year, his newsstand sales wouldn't be down 13 percent and 70 AMI employees might still have jobs. ...Just a thought! ... 10:11 P.M.
It's liberal bias I tell you--about cars! What's wrong with the Chrysler 300C? Wednesday's NYT has a longish piece about how everything's going all to hell for DaimlerChrysler. Here's paragraph three:
DaimlerChrysler's two most trumpeted new models here are a Mercedes-Benz McLaren sports car with a carbon-fiber body and a sticker price of close to $400,000, and a majestic Chrysler sedan, the 300C. Both seem ill suited to these leaner economic times. [Emph. added]
It's not clear what's so terrible about a sedan that's "majestic"--the actual price of the 300C isn't given-- nor is it clear that we'll still be in "leaner times" when the 300C actually debuts in 2004, despite the NYT's institutional commitment to the concept. But that's OK. So the "billboard graf" is a bit vague. Surely the NYT reporters will return to the subject later in the piece and flesh out their criticism. ...
Nope! There's some griping about "whether there is a market for yet another capacious rear-wheel-drive sedan"--as if the market was flooded with them already, which it's not (unless everyone can afford a $55,000 Lexus). Yet the Times notes that most analysts "seem willing to give Chrysler's premium strategy the benefit of the doubt." The only other complaint--that the car uses a Mercedes-Benz transmission--also turns out to be a non-complaint. ("That is probably desirable, relative to crafting an all-new transmission," admits the NYT's main Chrysler critic.) ...