More on Schwarzenegger’s peculiar understanding of special interests:

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, hounded by criticism of his fund-raising methods, on Monday added Manhattan to his traveling fund-raising campaign, flexing his political muscle for a crowd of Republicans with big wallets during a dinner and promising protesters they would have no effect on his plans. “When the special interests push me around, I’ll push back,” Schwarzenegger said to cheers and applause from more than 500 people at a $1,000-a-plate dinner. The event, at a midtown hotel, raised more than $500,000.

As Alexander Cockburn writes:

As the nurses barracked him during a speech, he denounced them as one of the “special interests” and said, “I’m always kicking their butt.” This witty response from the breast-grabber got plenty of play, and did the nurses nothing but good. At a January Capitol protest in Sacramento the nurses carried coffins and had a New Orleans jazz group play a death march. During the Super Bowl they flew a small plane over the steroid-swollen Governor’s party at his Santa Monica home. When he was in Washington they took out a full-page ad in Roll Call flaying his record. During a Schwarzenegger speech in a Sacramento hotel, nurses held up a banner saying RNs Say Stop the Power Grab.

On February 15, when Schwarzenegger and his platoons of body guards and flunkies trooped into a screening of Be Cool, 300 nurses demonstrated. Kelly DiGiacomo, 46 years old and 5’2″, a nurse at a Kaiser hospital near Sacramento, had a ticket. She ensconced herself in the fourth row, wearing her nurse’s scrubs. A bodyguard rushed up, and under the pretext of a possible meeting with the governor, led her to a room with a California Highway Patrol cop at the door and began to grill DiGiacomo. A few days later a CHP investigator called. DiGiacomo asked why she should be considered a threat. The investigator replied, “Well, you were wearing a nurse’s uniform.” “Oh, sure, the international terrorist uniform,” DiGiacomo scoffed. Californians scoffed with her when they saw the news stories. At least Bush and Cheney can claim they’re being targeted by hairy men from the dark side of Mecca. Here’s Arnold hiding behind his goons from the woman who cares for you when you’re in the hospital.

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