The battle of the Hollywood titans took to the airwaves yesterday with the airing of a Warren Beatty attack ad aimed at celebrity governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, according to sponsors.
The brief radio spot features Beatty urging people to turn out at the polls en masse next week to defeat propositions on which Schwarzenegger has staked his political future, a sample clip revealed.
The ad will be aired in San Francisco and Southern California areas beginning yesterday (local time), said Charles Idelson of the California Nurses Association, which is paying for the ads.
"Schwarzenegger and his big money backers are counting on you to not get out and vote," Beatty said in a sample of the ad provided by the association. "Don't give him more power...Let's stand up for our state."
"We don't want apathy to be the deciding factor in the election," Idelson said while discussing the Beatty ad. "It's not enough to just disagree with the governor, people have to get out and vote 'No'."
In public comments earlier this year, Beatty upbraided the governor for failing to criticize US President George W. Bush over the war in Iraq and the federal government's slow response to Hurricane Katrina.
Beatty, 68, charged Schwarzenegger was governing by "show spin, cosmetics, photo ops, fake events, fake issues and backdrops."
Schwarzenegger has dismissed Beatty's criticisms and his spokesman has called him "a crackpot."
In the radio ad, Beatty accuses Schwarzenegger of wasting taxpayer cash with a special election for propositions tailored to benefit the wealthy and hurt teachers, healthcare workers, police and fire fighters.
"If you are not rich and these propositions win, you lose," Beatty, star of "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Reds," said in the ad.
The radio campaign comes ahead of a special November 8 referendum on several unpopular measures that Schwarzenegger supports, including having teachers rated by performance instead of tenure and requiring politicians to balance the state budget without raising taxes.
Police, fire fighters, nurses and teachers stand to be affected by the proposals.
Schwarzenegger, 58, announced on September 16 that he will seek a second term as California governor when elections are held next year. He won a special election for governor in October 2003 after his predecessor was voted out of office in a recall referendum.
The "Terminator" hero turned politician stood as a reform candidate, but his popularity with Democratic and independent voters has since plunged, with a recent poll showing only 36 per cent of Californian's rated his performance as "positive."
Source: China Daily