Action hero Arnie will face ‘real bullets’, warn Democrats

ARNOLD Schwarzenegger will face ‘real bullets’ in his campaign to become California’s governor as rivals prepare to use allegations of sleaze to undermine his popularity.

Polls show the Terminator star is the early front-runner, following his announcement as a Republican candidate last week.

But his opponents are reported to be digging for dirt on the actor, who has faced claims about his private life in the past.

Bob Mulholland, California Democratic Party spokesman, told ABC News: “Schwarzenegger is going to find out that unlike a movie set, the bullets coming at him in this campaign are going to be real bullets and he’s going to have to respond to them. When things get a bit tough, he is not going to be able to say ‘cut’.”

Democratic incumbent Governor Gray Davis previously circulated a 2001 article in Premiere magazine which alleged Schwarzenegger groped women, had affairs and had abused steroids, all of which the actor strenuously denied.

A photo showing the Austrian-born actor’s father as a member of the Nazi Party during the Second World War has also been made public.

The Hollywood star also faces opposition from the Republican Party’s Christian right, who oppose his support for gay rights and abortion.

But Schwarzenegger is currently favourite to win the recall election, called after more than a million voters signed a petition to oust Mr Davis mid-term.

Nearly 80% of California voters have a favourable opinion of him and over half believe he could do a better job than someone who had a career as an elected public official, according to a USA Today/CNN poll.

Tax returns show Schwarzenegger has enough cash to bankroll a massive campaign. He earned 50 million in the last two years, and is now worth almost 200m.

An additional boost came from US President George Bush, who said he ‘would make a good Governor’.

His main rival if Mr Davis is ousted should be the state’s Democrat Lieutenant Governor, Cruz Bustamante.

Schwarzenegger also faces opposition from about 200 other candidates, including pornographer Larry Flynt and former Diff’rent Strokes star Gary Coleman.

Schwarzenegger voted for a 1994 ballot measure denying health care and public education to illegal immigrants.

Democrats were quick to jump on the disclosure as a chink in the action hero's armour.

The republican-backed Proposition 187 was passed by a wide margin, although it was eventually ruled unconstitutional. It remains a contentious issue and a litmus test for some voters, particularly Hispanics, to gauge if a candidate is immigrant-friendly.

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