McCain: Is Arnold Next?

Contributed by Karen Breslau and Holly Bailey

John McCain will soon be basking in the glow of an endorsement from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. But is another powerful supporter about to climb aboard the Straight Talk Express? California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will officially endorse McCain after Wednesday night's GOP debate, sources close to both men hint. Both the governor's office and McCain's campaign are maintaining an official silence on the subject. But if the Governator does pat Mac on the back, it would only add to McCain's momentum. Schwarzenegger maintains public approval ratings in his state in the 60s, and California is one of the biggest prizes on Super Tuesday. The two have formed a mutual admiration society over their respective efforts on climate change. Schwarzenegger's endorsement could permanently change the climate of the GOP race.

UPDATE, 7:30 p.m.: Romano here. I was trailing Huckabee in Orange County when Karen and Holly kicked in this item, but I must admit, I'm fascinated. If Arnold does end up endorsing McCain--he told reporters today that he'd join the Arizona senator at an environmental event tomorrow, and smiled as he said, "I have no news to give you today"--it will mean that nearly every steroidal action hero of the 1980s now has a horse in the race. Chuck Norris was first into the fray with his endorsement of Mike Huckabee; wrestler Ric Flair joined him shortly thereafter. Sylvester Stallone recently announced his support of John McCain, while Hulk Hogan came out for Barack Obama last night on the Jimmy Kimmel show. And now McCain gets Arnold, who was a hulking barbarian and unfeeling cyborg assassin long before he ran the state of Call-ee-forn-eeya.

I'm not sure why a penchant for pretend ultraviolence has suddenly become relevant political currency. But I do know one thing: the candidate who snags Jean-Claude Van Damme is riding that baby all the way to the White House.