Friday, October 3, 2003

Lingle says allegations
may hurt Schwarzenegger

Gov. Linda Lingle is keeping a hands-off position on the heated race for governor in California.

Lingle, a Republican, said yesterday that while she has met GOP front-runner Arnold Schwarzenegger twice, she is not making an endorsement.

Still, Lingle said that yesterday's Los Angeles Times report about six women accusing Schwarzenegger of sexual harassment may hurt him with women voters.

"I don't know how people in California will react to it. I would expect that women will react to it," Lingle said during an interview yesterday.

"I think regardless, men or women should treat people respectfully. I judge how a person treats a janitor or a colleague and how they treat their family. I think how people treat others says something about them as a person," Lingle said.

Massachusetts' Republican governor, Mitt Romney, is expected to campaign with the movie star before Tuesday's election, according to the Boston Herald.

"The Schwarzenegger campaign wanted to bring in Gov. Romney to highlight his record of reform as an outsider who came into office and cleaned up a mess," a Romney aide said in the Boston Herald.

Lingle said she has no plans to help the Schwarzenegger campaign.

She did say, however, that the national GOP and President Bush's re-election campaign would benefit if a Republican were elected governor of California.

The Times reported yesterday that three women said Schwarzenegger grabbed their breasts. Another said he reached under her skirt and grabbed her buttocks.

Another woman said Schwarzenegger tried to remove her bathing suit in a hotel elevator, and the sixth said Schwarzenegger pulled her onto his lap and asked whether a certain sexual act had ever been performed on her.

Schwarzenegger, acknowledging that he has "behaved badly" to women over the years, offered an apology yesterday in California and promised that he has changed.

One California supporter, who according to the Associated Press, had met Schwarzenegger in Hawaii, didn't believe the accusations.

"I think it's baloney," said Kendall DePascal, 41, a marketing specialist from San Diego. "You know what, he worked on a movie set. You encounter people who make claims about you right and left. I don't believe it at all."

Lingle yesterday also acknowledged that celebrities have a difficult time with rumors and accusations.

"I have never been on a movie set or at a rap party or anything like that, but people who are in a very high profile -- in show business or sports -- they have a very tough life and people like that have to be extra careful," Lingle said.


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