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He may have come into office decrying "politics as usual," but Arnold Schwarzenegger showed again this afternoon that he is a natural born politician, someone who understands the importance of graciousness and charm in building the kind of personal relationships that are essential to success.

Speaker Herb Wesson hosted an informal lunch with members of the Capitol press corps, an event to say goodbye before incoming Speaker Fabian Nunez is sworn in on Monday. Wesson had just begun to entertain some questions when, unannounced, Schwarzenegger strolled into the room, put his arm around Wesson's shoulders and spoke glowingly of the outgoing speaker as a man who always keeps his word.

When a reporter started to ask a question of the governor, he turned briefly, said that Wesson, not he, was the man of the hour and quickly departed. All told, it probably took Schwarzenegger less than 10 minutes to leave his office, ride the elevator up two floors and pay his respects. The payoff in good will is immeasurable.

95 percent accurate
Over the last 25 presidential elections, Ventura County voters have backed the winner 24 times, or over 95 percent of the time. It is one of only a handful of counties in the nation that has been such a predictable bellwether.
about Timm Herdt
Timm Herdt
The Ventura County Star's Sacramento Bureau Chief Timm Herdt on state issues and politics from Sacramento to Ventura County. He can be contacted at