ARNOLD UPDATE….Arnold talked about his infamous Oui interview yesterday, and apparently his story has changed yet again. His initial excuse was that he was just a wild and crazy guy back then. Then it morphed into “Interview? What interview?” The latest is that he was just making shit up in order to get headlines.

But hey, who cares about that when we’ve got substantive issues to talk about, right? Like, say, “special interests”:

He also insisted that Davis’ and Bustamante’s fund-raising from interest groups differed from his own.

“Here’s the difference,” he said in the Channel 4 interview. “I mean, the other guys are taking money from the Indians and from the unions. And how can you take money from those guys if you sit one day across the table negotiating [with them]?”

Schwarzenegger denied that he would be influenced by contributions from wealthy developers, businessmen and others who have contributed to him.

“No one, no one will influence me about anything,” he said. “I want to be influenced only because it’s a good idea.”

Now it’s one thing to just generally say you’ll be an independent voice. All politicians say that. But to go out of your way to paint labor unions as “special interests” while implying that corporations aren’t is either naive or despicable.

In other Arnold news, I just love his excuse for skipping today’s debate:

He also denied he is avoiding debating his opponents ? although he is skipping a debate today ? saying his opponents have been trying to use his celebrity to get attention.

“Mention my name, it gives them air time,” he said on KFI.

Sure, Arnold, everyone else is running for governor solely to bask in your reflected glory. Sheesh.

(Arnold has agreed to participate in a debate later in the month, of course. But it’s a debate where he gets to see the questions first. That should give his scriptwriters plenty of time to come up with some good one-liners.)

You know, I think Gray Davis is a bad enough governor that I was willing to be convinced that Arnold could do a better job of managing the legislature and solving some problems that a Democrat might have a hard time with. But instead of using his celebrity to deliver some much needed straight talk, Arnold’s behavior has instead been simply arrogant and cynical. I don’t think he’s made a single substantive statement in the past four weeks, and apparently he expects to win simply by insisting that he will march into Sacramento and kick some ass. To him, I guess it’s just another notch on his career belt.

He had his chance and he blew it. Too bad.

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