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Arnold, Laura Bush, Mrs. Hasselbeck...speaking today


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Schwarzenegger Takes a Supporting Role

First Lady to Talk About the Personal Side of the President

By Mark Stencel

Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, August 31, 2004; 2:17 PM

NEW YORK, Aug. 31--Aside from his cameo in Jackie Chan's recent remake of "Around the World in 80 Days," Arnold Schwarzenegger's Republican convention speech Tuesday night might be the first time the California governor has taken a supporting role since he played Mr. Freeze in "Batman & Robin" seven years ago.

Schwarzenegger will take the stage at Madison Square Garden at 10 p.m. Eastern time, immediately before the night's leading lady, Laura Bush, delivers her own primetime televised speech to the delegates.

But the Bush twins, 22-year-old Barbara and Jenna, might steal the show from both of the night's headline speakers. The presidential daughters will provide a five-minute introduction to their mother's address, convention organizers announced Tuesday.

The unofficial co-chairs of many of this week's Grand Old Parties here in Manhattan have been playing an increasingly active role in their father's campaign since they graduated from college this summer, including occasional media interviews. But the women's brief remarks to thousands of convention delegates and millions of TV viewers will be the most prominent political role they have ever played.

President Bush's reelection team hopes Schwarzenegger can play a bigger part in the campaign too, despite the former actor's differences with the White House on abortion, gay rights, gun control and other issues. Washington Post Los Angeles bureau chief Rene Sanchez reports that the contents of Tuesday's speech are "a closely guarded secret," but aides say the address is intended to put to rest speculation that "Schwarzenegger and Bush have an uneasy or merely cordial relationship." Schwarzenegger is "emerging as a potentially powerful asset to Bush in the presidential campaign" but "his role is still uncertain" because of profound policy differences, Sanchez writes.

Bush, who campaigned with Schwarzenegger earlier this month, has been emphasizing their similarities. As White House correspondent Dana Milbank recounted in a recent edition of his White House Notebook, Bush told a crowd that he and the Austrian-born Schwarzenegger "share a lot in common," including good wives, big biceps and "trouble with the English language."

Laura Bush made the rounds of morning talk shows to promote her address, which is scheduled to begin at 10:35 p.m. On NBC's "Today" show, the first lady said she wants to "tell people what I've seen in the private moments, because I've had a different vantage point than anybody else and I've watched [President Bush] over the last four years as he's made very, very difficult decisions. And I want to let people know what that was like and what he's like."

Laura Bush's popularity far exceeds that of her husband. More than 70 percent of those surveyed view her favorably, according to a new Los Angeles Times poll. That's double the favorability ratings for Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of Democratic nominee John F. Kerry.

In addition to Schwarzenegger and the first lady, Tuesday's convention lineup includes speeches by:

• Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (Tex.)

• Sen. Norm Coleman (Minn.)

• Sen. Elizabeth Dole (N.C.)

• Rep. Anne M. Northup (Ky.)

• presidential nephew George P. Bush

• 2003 Miss America Erika Harold,

• Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.)

• Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.)

• "Survivor" star Elisabeth Hasselbeck,

• Education Secretary Roderick R. Paige

• Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele

Steele, who is one of his party's highest-ranking African American elected officials, was profiled in Tuesday's Washington Post by Metro staff writer Matthew Mosk.

Here is a complete schedule, as well as highlights of Tuesday's night planned television coverage. The three major broadcast networks, ABC, CBS and NBC, kick off their primetime convention coverage at 10 p.m. after bypassing Monday night's addresses by Arizona Sen. John McCain and former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. Gavel-to-gavel video coverage will be available on cable TV on C-Span and on a number of news Web sites, including washingtonpost.com.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

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