Stephen M. Silverman And Ansley Cichy
June 09, 2003 01:50 AM

Arnold Schwarzenegger was back in the nation’s capital on Friday, fueling more speculation about the California Republican’s political ambitions, PEOPLE reports from its Washington, D.C., bureau.

For the most part, however, the “Terminator” star, 55, was in town to push his after-school program — not to announce his candidacy for governor of California.

When asked whether he will be running, Schwarzenegger told reporters: “Before making a decision like that, I would have to speak to the almighty, my wife Maria.”

(That would be NBC newswoman Maria Shriver, a member of the vastly Democratic Kennedy clan.)

“My first priority is education, the after-school program,” said Schwarzenegger, founder of the Inner-City Games, an organization that runs programs in 15 cities providing opportunities for inner-city youths to participate in sports, educational, cultural and community enrichment activities.

Schwarzenegger and Education Secretary Rod Paige — both wearing cowboy boots — teamed up in Washington for the conclusion of the After-School Summit, where they met with education experts from around the country to learn how to strengthen after-school programs.

“After-school programs are absolutely essential; they are the answer to the problems such as teen pregnancy, drugs, gangs and violence,” said Schwarzenegger, looking more Hollywood than Potomac in beige jeans, a blazer and dress shirt without a tie.

Of course, the actor also was asked about his new movie, due July 2. “My first priority is the after-school program,” he added. “My second priority is go see ‘Terminator 3.'”

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