Irked Arnold Snubbing Bush

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gives a speech at a home in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 20, 2005, advocating an environmental proposal that would provide rebates for homes and businesses in California that install solar energy systems.
AP
In a salute to Ronald Reagan, President Bush is helping dedicate a new Air Force One exhibit at the former president's library, but his appearance at a GOP fundraiser while he's here has upset some California Republicans.

Arnold Schwarzenegger became irked at Mr. Bush for making an appearance in order to raise money from the same Republicans the governor wants help from in a special election fight. So, in retaliation, Schwarzenegger is snubbing the president's biggest public appearance in the state.

Republican politicians rarely pass up the chance to associate themselves with Reagan. But the governor was blunt in turning down the president's request to join him.

"We're very busy in our campaigning up and down the state," Schwarzenegger told reporters.

Mr. Bush was to join former first lady Nancy Reagan in Simi Valley on Friday to officially open a new pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library that features a Boeing 707, which carried Reagan and six other presidents.

The Air Force One Pavilion, which also houses a former Marine One helicopter, a presidential limousine and a replica of an Irish pub, tells the story of Reagan's two-term presidency. Visitors who tour the retired Air Force One will see Reagan's beloved jelly beans on the plane's presidential conference table.

Bush traveled cross-country aboard a Boeing 747, flying 475 mph at 32,000 feet on a flight path over Bowling Green, Ky., Tulsa, Okla., and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

What he did when he landed Thursday evening in California, however, didn't suit some members of the state GOP. They said his appearance at a $1 million Republican National Committee fundraiser was poorly timed because of the upcoming Nov. 8 special gubernatorial election.

Schwarzenegger is trying to court independents and Democrats, two voter blocs that typically haven't supported Bush.

But Schwarzenegger rebuffed requests from leading California Democrats that he break from his special election campaign long enough to ask President Bush for more federal money.

The Republican governor said he was too busy before the Nov. 8 vote to meet with the president during Bush's two-day stop in Southern California on Thursday and Friday.

But Schwarzenegger also said he was not happy that Bush was raising money in California so close to the special election.

"We would have appreciated it if he had done his fundraising after Nov. 8," Schwarzenegger said Wednesday. The governor has yet to reach his $50 million fundraising goal to promote his ballot initiatives, which would curb the power of the Democrat-controlled Legislature.

Democrats criticized the governor's decision to skip the Bush events, saying Schwarzenegger is putting politics ahead of the needs of the state.

"Apparently, the only thing that the governor is collecting is special interest money," said Assemblyman Dario Frommer, D-Los Angeles.