LAST CALL: Arnie won't terminate political rumors

The rumor that Arnold Schwarzenegger is seriously contemplating a

run for governor of California is gaining steam.

Even the highbrow New York Times has given the speculation serious

column inches, outlining the Republican party's apparent desperation to

revive its fortunes in that state.

Arnold's publicist denied his charge was considering a political bid,

but the star just as quickly sent a message that he was, indeed,

thinking about it.

But will the Terminator be able to rise above his muscled and

monosyllabic image and make voters take him seriously?

'There is the celebrity attached to the prospect and that is exciting,'

said Wayne Johnson of Johnson Clark Associates, who works as a media

consultant for the California Republican Party. 'But the best is yet to

come when people find out what they get in the bargain.'

For Johnson asserts that Schwarzenegger has been doing his homework, and

that he has a serious and abiding interest in public policy. We can hear

it now: 'I'll be back ... once I've sorted out that tricky Stage 3

energy shortage.'

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