As Mickey Kaus points out, the lateness of the groping stories may help Arnold more than it would have hurt if the Times' seven-week investigation had met the paper's journalistic standards after only, say, four weeks. Now Arnold's campaign can (falsely) claim that the Times stories are the product of a last-minute Davis "puke" campaign--plus, all those people who sent in absentee ballots for Schwarzenegger before the Gropenator stories were published can't exactly change their votes, as much as they may want to. Apparently 2 million ballots have already been mailed in.
The Times weighs in with more hard-to-ignore stories again today:
Four more women have come forward to say that Arnold Schwarzenegger fondled, spanked or touched them in incidents they said took place as recently as 2000 and as long ago as 1979.
In all, 15 women have now accused the Republican candidate for governor of grabbing or groping them. On the campaign trail Saturday, Schwarzenegger denounced as a "puke campaign" news reports that he has behaved abusively toward women.
The women who agreed Saturday to tell their stories publicly are:
A 51-year-old woman who said Schwarzenegger pinned her to his chest and spanked her shortly after she met him at a West Los Angeles post-production studio in 2000.
Tamee Smith, 46, who said Schwarzenegger followed her into a bathroom on a studio lot and grabbed her breast during work on the movie "Predator" in 1986.
Jan Prinzmetal, 50, who said Schwarzenegger reached under her skirt and grabbed her bare buttocks outside a Venice gym in the mid-1980s.
Elizabeth Rothner, 45, who said Schwarzenegger lifted her sweatshirt at a popular Santa Monica bar in 1979, exposing her bare breasts before a crowd.
The Times provided details of each of the new allegations to Schwarzenegger's campaign Saturday. The candidate's spokesman, Sean Walsh, said Schwarzenegger had said that the accounts of three of the women were untrue. Walsh said Schwarzenegger had no recollection of the alleged Venice gym incident.
"Arnold has acknowledged that at times his behavior, while good-natured, could be rowdy and bawdy," Walsh said. "He has apologized to those who felt offended. Arnold has stated, when he began his campaign, that he did not live his life under the expectation that he would someday be governor."
After The Times reported Thursday that Schwarzenegger had inappropriately touched women, he offered a general apology for "behaving badly" in the past, saying, "Where there is smoke, there is fire." He has denied that several of the specific incidents took place and said he had no recollection of others.