Charlie LeDuff was the New York Times correspondent in L.A. who rode Harleys up PCH with the new governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in 2004. LeDuff, now reporting for a TV station in Detroit, has posted a fun backstory given the recent news about our ex-Gov. Schwarzenegger's people had kept putting off the reporter, since as he writes, "I would often refer to him in print as the 'sagging action hero.' Getting no attention, I would arrive at his news conferences in biker boots, big silver ties and my goatee brushed up with mascara to make it look like a tarantula. I freaked them out." After finally getting an appointment to take the ride, then being stood up, LeDuff got an invitation to come over to the house and watch the Golden Globes.
My wife and I dressed in our best. I wore the black suit. She wore pearls. But when we walked into the foyer of his mansion, Maria Shriver was wandering the marble halls in her sweat pants.
The housekeeper, reported to be Mildred Baena , whom I recognized this week from the tabloid photographs, had a buffet laid out of warmed-over tacquitos, nachos and hot dogs.
This was no Hollywood party. This was watching TV with the Schwarzeneggers!
The governor gave me a Cuban cigar (considered illegal contraband under the Trading with the Enemy Act). He poured me Scotch. And then we sat down with the children to watch the red carpet show. Baena sat behind us on a stool at the counter. My wife sat stiffly next to me.
On the television, a starlet pranced down the carpet. The bottom half of her dress looked like the bottom half of an ostrich. The top of the dress was nothing more than two straps criss-crossing her breasts. Schwarzenegger, fresh off his groping scandal -- and with an East Coast reporter sitting in his living room no less -- barked out: “Look at her! Some queer told her she looks good in that but her t--s look like s--t!”
Go read the whole thing. Here's one spoiler with news value: when LeDuff left the NYT to become a stay-home dad, he says no colleagues wrote him but that Schwarzenegger did.
New York Times photo: Monica Almeida