| Honey, now it's okay: Schwarzenegger with Shriver
Washington, Oct. 28: Kennedy offspring Maria Shriver's refusal to have sex with her husband Arnold Schwarzenegger for a fortnight after he endorsed President George W. Bush for re-election may be having its effect.
The only effort the California governor is making for fellow Republican Bush this week, the last before the presidential election, is one appearance in Ohio. But then, Schwarzenegger was to be in Colombus, Ohio, in any case since he sponsors an annual fitness weekend there.
On Saturday, he is scheduled to go to Las Vegas but only to give an award to the winner of the 'Mr Olympia' bodybuilding competition. There will be no political content to the event.
Schwarzenegger explained yesterday why he could not campaign for Bush across the country. 'I was sent by the people of California to Sacramento (the state capital) to represent them. To do the job.... This is my job ' to work for California and not go out on the campaign trail.'
Last week, Schwarzenegger had told an audience that 'there was no sex for 14 days' after his rousing speech at the Republican national convention in New York in August endorsing Bush. Shriver is a registered Democrat.
California's popular governor has been a delight during this campaign which is otherwise one of the bitterest and meanest in US history and promises to get worse if the election is undecided next week.
Schwarzenegger has been campaigning intensely in California, but primarily for candidates seeking election to the state legislature.
At his campaign appearances, Schwarzenegger repeatedly refers to his wife, who is the niece of the late President, John F. Kennedy.
'I don't know why I watched the presidential debates,' Schwarzenegger said at one campaign event.
'If I want to watch a smart liberal Democrat and a Republican leader argue, all we have to do is go out to dinner. They (the presidential candidates) were lucky. They only had to do it three times.'
At another appearance, Schwarzenegger alarmed Republicans outside California when he said: 'I think both (Bush and his challenger John Kerry) are doing a great job. It is very tedious to be out there campaigning a year and a half. You make one mistake and you lose the presidency.'
The California governor has also put himself at odds in the last lap of the presidential campaign by supporting stem cell research, opposition to which is central to a Bush effort to retain support among his constituency of Christian conservatives.
On November 2, Californians choosing the next occupant of the White House will also vote on a ballot measure which will authorise the sale of state bonds worth $3 billion and the creation of a state institute to award grants for stem cell research.
'I am very much interested in stem cell research. I support it 100 per cent,' Schwarzenegger said. He hoped the ballot would be approved 'so that eventually, 10 years from now, people will be saved from those terrible illnesses'.
The clash between Schwarzenegger and Bush on stem cell research is not one on just an idea. If Bush is re-elected, it will pit the actor-politician in direct conflict with the White House, which has banned the use of federal funds for virtually all embryonic stem cell research.
The California ballot measure is meant to circumvent that ban.
Schwarzenegger has exuded confidence since his popular appearance at the Republican national convention and polls showing a high approval rating in California.
There has been talk in recent weeks about amending the constitution removing the ban on US citizens born abroad from seeking the White House and a Congressional committee held a hearing recently on this issue. The governor was born in Austria.