The California governor proves a potent speaker in Madison Square Garden

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated September 01, 2004 08:00 AM

President George W. Bush got a boost of star power at the Republican Nation Convention Tuesday night: actor-turned-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who took centerstage to represent the moderate wing of the GOP and flex his muscles as a politician.

Mixing humor with a hard sell, the Austrian-born Schwarzenegger, 57, who was well-received, said as part of his remarks: “America gave me opportunities and my immigrant dreams came true. I want other people to get the same chances I did, the same opportunities. And I believe they can.

“That is why I believe in this country, that is why I believe in this party, and that is why I believe in this president.”

He also managed to use a recent catchphrase that got him into trouble, advising “critics who would be pessimistic about our economy, I would tell them, ‘Don’t be economic girlie men.'”

Some political pundits say that Schwarzenegger’s speech will be a hard act to follow. Vice president Dick Cheney is due to address the Madison Square Garden crowd Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, outside the Garden, nearly 1,000 people were arrested by New York Police Wednesday as protests against President Bush and his policies took place all over Manhattan, outside the Public Library on 42nd Street, in Union Square and at the site of the World Trade Center.