When the Republican convention opens Monday night, its prime-time lineup could be missing one of its biggest draws: Arnold Schwarzenegger. The governor is vowing to remain in California if lawmakers can’t strike a budget deal, now 2 months overdue. And agreement seems unlikely, potentially costing Schwarzenegger a national platform and John McCain a high-profile supporter who has been popular with independent voters.
Schwarzenegger's absence also would be a letdown for TV networks, which would lose one of the biggest potential draws on opening night in St. Paul, Minn. A convention spokeswoman declined to say whether organizers were considering another option: a Schwarzenegger appearance by satellite from Sacramento, as Republican Gov. Pete Wilson did in 1992, during a similar budget stalemate.