Warren Beatty has slammed fellow actor ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER - insisting he'd do a better job than the TERMINATOR star as California Governor.

Beatty, who has been considered a potential candidate for the coveted role, recently admitted he doesn't want to run in next year's (06) election - but he's no political fan of Schwarzenegger's.

Democrat Beatty told, 68, graduates of the University of California at Berkeley's public policy school on Saturday (21MAY05), "I'm an opponent of (Schwarzenegger's) muscle-bound conservatism with longer experience in politics than he has.

"And although I don't want to run for governor, I would do one hell of a lot better job than he's done. I could name you a lot of Democrats who would be so much better than I would, and maybe even a few Republicans."

No clear Democratic front-runner has emerged to challenge the Austrian-born Schwarzenegger in the November 2006 gubernatorial election. State Treasurer PHIL ANGELIDES has asked for his party's nomination, and producer ROB REINER has received high marks in the polls.

In a fiery and overtly political speech, Beatty also called for higher taxes on the rich, if only temporarily, to close the state's budget gap, as well as for public financing of elections.

He said Schwarzenegger was playing politics in a bid to prepare himself for a presidential run.

He added, "It's not fooling anybody to be running around raising money from Wall Street, K Street and rich Republicans all over the country. We are not the governor's dumbbells."

In a jab at Beatty's age, Schwarzenegger's press secretary MARGITA THOMPSON, says, "I'm sure it's not personal. Warren's just mad because he's afraid they're cutting off his Social Security."

23/05/2005 03:18