Actor's Mind Stays Focused on Passing Proposition 49





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Daily Cal: If Proposition 49 passes, what is your next step in advocating for physical fitness and sports?

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Proposition 49 doesn't have that much to do with just physical fitness and sports. It is supposed to bring after school programs to every elementary and middle school in the state of California. So my next step, basically, is the implementation of the program because one-third of the work is really to make the initiative pass. But the major job begins then to make sure that we teach at various different high schools, junior high schools and elementary schools on how to implement the program, how to run an after school program, how to offer a very rich menu of different classes so the students stay. Because the key thing is you can start the program with 100 kids and to finish only with 20. The difficult task always is to offer interesting classes and to teach in a very innovative way, so that the students stay. So this will be my job, is the implementation of the program. That's the next big challenge, and for that, we will create a great coalition of different organizations and foundations that all will help experts in after school programming education to really make sure we can implement it as fast as possible.

Daily Cal: You're very popular for all your movies. You've portrayed Hercules and machines, but you've never actually portrayed a government official. Do you have plans to portray one in the future?

Schwarzenegger: I don't know if there's anything on my schedule to play that, but I always do have a good time playing the characters that I play, including in "Junior" portraying the first man that ever got pregnant with a baby. Several of the scenes we shot here right in Berkeley, inside of this building.

Daily Cal: But would you ever be open to portraying a government official?

Schwarzenegger: Absolutely, yes. If there's a good script for that, I would be more than happy to do something like that. Yes.

Daily Cal: Governor Gray Davis has raised a lot of money for his campaign. What do you think about big money invading politics?

Schwarzenegger: Well, I think the way the system is set up is that you need to raise the money. And I mean, I'm not talking about Gray Davis alone, but I'm talking about in general in politics it implies the air time, the TV time, all the posters, the billboards and whatever you need to do in order to get the message out there that you are the best candidate or that you have a very good initiative that is important and vital to the state. For instance in our campaign, we knew from the beginning that we had to raise $10 million in order to launch a very effective media campaign, especially television. Eighty-five percent of the information people get about politics is from TV, and only 15 percent is through print-sorry to say since you are a writer-but that's just the way that it cracks up. People watch TV much more than read papers today and so that's why we knew we had to raise this money to get the message out there and be ahead of the polls. And we have been very successful with that. It's also I think in a way a gauge in most cases if people are interested in this particular subject or in this particular candidate or not. If (people) feel like there's leadership there and that this candidate can carry the message and could be a good representative for the district and the state, then people are willing to give more money. If you have a candidate that does not get the message across to the voters and the people that has the money to donate, then they will not get any money and therefore will lose the campaign. So it's an indicator, but sometimes it is misused also in a lot of cases.

Daily Cal: So you're saying if a person is liked, therefore they will get more funds?

Schwarzenegger: Not liked. Well, liked is one indicator. Like with our after school initiative. I had to go to various different corporations. There's a whole board of people sitting there, there's a room full and I have to sell the idea of why Proposition 49 is important, why we need after school programs and why it is important to implement the program to make sure that in the year 2004 there will be funding available. This is what we do to implement it. That is to say if this guy is really serious he will carry the ball, he knows about after school programs, he's been involved for 10 years on this issue, he's enthusiastic about it, has the fire and the belly to go out and fight for it, then yes, we want to put money behind it. So, that is what is the key thing, you have to be able to sell the leadership.

Daily Cal: It is the belief of many political observers that the Republican Party is dead in California, particularly because of Pete Wilson's stance against illegal immigrants. Do you feel that being a Republican immigrant would help you gain more support among California voters?

Schwarzenegger: To be honest, on this particular campaign, I don't want to talk about Republicans versus Democrats because. We made a very conscious effort from the beginning-I did myself-to treat this as a bipartisan or nonpartisan kind of issue. To me, education is a peoples' issue. After school programs are a safety issue. It's a family issue, and I don't think kids really care if this comes from a Republican idea or a Democratic idea. People just care that they want to get the job done and doing something different with our kids in the future, instead of letting them just float around in the streets after 3 a.m., without any supervision. So I would like to stay out of the political stuff as much as I can, in order to be more effective to have Democrats and Republicans work together.

Daily Cal: You have mentioned as well in what you just said that you want to have more after school programs to combat violence and drug use among children. But how do you feel about children watching your movies where violence is used, like the "Terminator" or "True Lies"?

Schwarzenegger: We have every statistic that ever was done that the lack of after school programming can create a certain amount of violence. The law enforcement community has made it very clear that because the kids are by themselves, unsupervised then they are then within 3 to 6p.m. danger zone. (This means) they are the peak hours for juvenile crime, teenage crime, gang related violence, kids getting involved in drugs, all those kinds of things, so we know that with after school programs we can cut this in half, those statistics. That's what we know and we work for that. The movies, we don't know. I've never read a statistic that says because kids are watching movies that many kids are getting involved in drugs, that many kids are getting involved in violence, that many kids are getting involved with alcohol. It's a lack of parenting that creates those problems, not the movies.

Daily Cal: But how do you feel about young children watching your movies?

Schwarzenegger: Luckily in America we have a very good rating system so it's really up to the parents if they want to let their children watch those movies. Some movies of mine are R rated movies and they are listed as R rated, meaning kids below the ages of 17 should not go and watch the movie. Then movies that are PG-13 (where) kids 13 and up can go watch the movie, such as "Junior", "Twins", and "Kindergarten Cop". The rating system, it's like books. You can go to the library and a kid can pick up a book and read any book that they want. It's the same thing, except that we have to label it a certain rating, and we have the rating board that does that.

Daily Cal: Going back to Proposition 49, seeing that you have received a lot of political and voter support for it, would you consider running for political office?

Schwarzenegger: My mind is not on that right now. My mind is only on one thing now, (which) is winning on Nov. 5 this election and to make sure that people vote yes on Proposition 49. That's all I'm thinking about. It's like you have to keep your eye on that one ball and that's it. I'm not thinking about anything else.

Daily Cal: I see. Would you consider running for governor in 2006?

Schwarzenegger: Like I said, I'm not thinking about that.

Daily Cal: Would you be open to it?

Schwarzenegger: I'm open to anything. I'm open to directing more movies, I'm open to starting more movies, I'm open to anything. But like I said, I'm concentrating on one thing and this is Proposition 49.

Daily Cal: I see. And which is more likely-you to portray the president of the United States in a movie, or you running for governor in 2006?

Schwarzenegger: Either one could be possible. I have no idea, I cannot tell you. It's all hypothetical.

Daily Cal: Which one do you think will happen first?

Schwarzenegger: I have no idea.

Daily Cal: Do you think you being an immigrant has helped you gain support in the Republican party?

Schwarzenegger: I think that me coming from a country that is a socialistic country has contributed to me being more inclined to vote Republican. As a matter of fact, when I came to this country-I saw during the presidential campaign between (Hubert) Humphrey and (Richard) Nixon in 1968-I saw some of the discussions they had, and the press conferences they had. When I heard Humphrey, it sounded to me like someone talking in Austria. And when I heard Nixon, it sounded to me refreshing, opening up the borders, free trade, getting the government off our backs and all those kinds of things, strengthening the military, and believing in law and order and investing in children and their education. To me that was very refreshing, and at that point, I'm a Republican.

Daily Cal: What year was this?

Schwarzenegger: 1968. I came over here in October 1968, and that was when the campaign was at its height. Every night there was a reporting about what did Humphrey talk about, what did Nixon talk about and all that.

Daily Cal: I think that's pretty much all my questions. What do you think of Berkeley so far?

Schwarzenegger: Well, I think you have the most beautiful campus that I have ever seen. It's absolutely gorgeous and like I said I've seen a lot of it already when we did the film "Junior" here several years ago. We were lucky to get invited by Alan Ross and I jumped on the opportunity right away. I wanted to come back here. As a matter of a fact, I said to some of the students hanging out with us, while we were shooting, "I'll be back." So, the terminator always keeps his promise.

Daily Cal: Thank you so much.

Schwarzenegger: Sure, my pleasure.

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