After years of getting the cold shoulder from Arnold Schwarzenegger, California Republicans are returning the sentiment as they mount efforts to succeed him, the Los Angeles Times reports. Top GOP contenders Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner have criticized Schwarzenegger’s budget and ballot measures, tossing in digs about his ego and work habits for good measure. The strategy, one insider said, is to become “anti-Arnold.”
But the pols echo many of the same promises Schwarzenegger made when he first sought office. “People think the Schwarzenegger experience didn't work out so well, and they're going to be looking for something very different,” predicted a strategist. The strategy could also alienate centrist voters and provoke Schwarzenegger. “He’s not going to be a punching bag,” said an aide.