Beatty Takes On Arnie

For years, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Warren Beatty did battle at the box office. Now, the two Hollywood giants are crossing swords in the politics arena, too.

Californians head to the polls Tuesday to vote in a special election on a series of propositions that are seen as a referendum on Schwarzenegger's policies as California governor.

Beatty, who has been among the governor's most vocal critics, sat down with Linda Breakstone, a political reporter for the CBS Los Angeles station, KCBS-TV.

He addressed, as Breakstone puts it, "his purpose, his passion, his view of California's governor, and his own political ambitions."

"Far be it for me to say such a terrible thing, that we may have to raise taxes a little, because that will be the quote that will come from Arnold's spokesman and (President) Bush's people," Beatty remarked to Breakstone.

"I don't want to run for governor," he continued. "I have a very nice life. I have four young children who could be my grandchildren, and I, you know, really like to make movies."

California's Field Poll has just put Beatty in a statistical tie, should he ever run against Schwarzenegger.

"I really believe (that) in the cacophony of this new media age, that you can perform a public service, sometimes greater, by being out of public office than by being in," Beatty asserted.

And his passion, observes Breakstone, is to oppose Schwarzenegger, who Beatty thinks went down a dangerous path because, he says, "If these things pass in the state of California, they will reverberate back throughout the country."

Somewhat out of character, Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria Shriver, last week tweaked her old friend Beatty, saying at one point recently, ""Thank God I don't see Warren Beatty.

"Its fine," Beatty said. "I don't want to say anything about Maria. Look, if you have been as politically active as I have been since the middle '60s, I would feel to be silent at this point would be to be complicit."

Another big name in Hollywood, director Rob Reiner, is also fighting one of Schwarzenegger's initiatives.

Reiner, like Beatty, has been mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate but Reiner, like Beatty, has said he isn't running. As it did with Beatty, the Field Poll put Reiner about even with Schwarzenegger.

A majority of California voters questioned for the Field Poll said they are unlikely to support Schwarzenegger for re-election next year, mostly because of his call for the special election next week.

But Schwarzenegger remains competitive when matched against potential Democratic challengers, including Beatty and Reiner, the poll found.

The governor continued to push four ballot measures that would strengthen his hand against legislators and public employee unions.

Fifty-five percent of voters in the poll said they are not inclined to support Schwarzenegger next year, while 36 percent said they would support him and 9 percent expressed no opinion.

Schwarzenegger's poll numbers dropped earlier this year when he announced plans for the special election.