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Arnold vs. the Girly States

2 minute read
Margot Roosevelt

Huge wallscapes appeared on Los Angeles and San Francisco buildings last week featuring a bruised and desperate-looking man with a Band-Aid on his nose. Above him was the question WILL YOUR BUSINESS BE TERMINATED? The brazen ads, sponsored by Nevada economic-development officials, seek to lure Golden State companies across the border by stressing California’s high workers’-comp and utility costs. And they take aim at the Terminator himself, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The ads are a response to billboards Schwarzenegger put up in Las Vegas and 10 other cities in August with an image of him, arms folded, preening in a tight California-state-flag T shirt. The message: ARNOLD SAYS: CALIFORNIA WANTS YOUR BUSINESS. (ACTUALLY, HE SAYS, “KAH-LI-FORNIA.”) The grandstanding Governor even tooled along the Vegas Strip in an 18-wheel moving van to drive home the point.

Nevada isn’t the only state fighting back. Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, irked by Schwarzenegger’s Boston ad, has countered with billboards in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego in which he mimics the Governor’s arms-folded pose but wears a dress shirt and tie. The slogan: SMALLER MUSCLES BUT LOWER TAXES! MASSACHUSETTS MEANS BUSINESS. Says Romney: “I don’t want to arm wrestle, but Governor Schwarzenegger upped the ante.” Now, after vetoing a state minimum-wage hike, he’s about to up it some more. California’s billboard campaign will expand in the next few weeks to more cities–and even overseas. –By Margot Roosevelt

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