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Schwarzenegger Asks Immigrants to Embrace Republican Party - 2004-09-01

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has praised President Bush and attacked Democrats on the second night of the Republican National Convention. The former movie action hero energized the delegates gathered in New York City's Madison Square Garden.

Governor Schwarzenegger spoke on the night that was set aside to focus on what convention organizers called the compassion of the American people.

He spoke about his own immigrant experience, coming to the United States from Austria, and ultimately finding himself speaking on behalf of the President of the United States. It is the American dream, he said.

At a time when the United States is facing international criticism about its role in the world, Mr. Schwarzenegger had a message for the critics.

"We are the America that gives more than any other country, to fight aids in Africa and the developing world," he said. "And we are the America that fights not for imperialism but for human rights and democracy."

Mr. Schwarzenegger, who recalled that the Soviet Union had occupied part of his native country when he was growing up, praised Mr. Bush for his decision to go to war with Iraq, and for his efforts in the war on terrorism.

At the same time, he had some harsh words for Democrats, who last month in Boston nominated Senator John Kerry to challenge Mr. Bush in November's election.

"One of my movies was called True Lies. It is what the Democrats should have called their convention," he said.

He took issue with a campaign theme embraced by Mr. Kerry's running mate, Senator John Edwards, who says the president's economic policies have created what he calls two Americas.

"I can tell you this; our young men and women in uniform do not believe there are two Americas! They believe we are one America, and they are fighting for it!," he said.

Mr. Schwarzenegger is one of many moderate Republicans who have been featured at the convention.

Democrats say the convention speakers do not reflect what they call the ultra-conservative views and values of the Republican Party base.

But that is not a problem for Governor Schwarzenegger, who disagrees with Mr. Bush's support for restricting abortion rights and a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

"Maybe, just maybe, you do not agree with this party on every single issue," he said. "I say to you tonight I believe that's not only okay, that's what's great about this country. Here we can respectfully disagree and still be patriotic, still be American, and still be good Republicans.

Earlier, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist spoke about Mr. Bush's commitment to health care, and Senator Sam Brownback, who just returned from Africa, underscored the President's support for fighting AIDS.