David, (33), won a meeting with the actor-turned-politician thanks to some help from Yorkshire-born business tycoon Lord Hanson – who lives in California during the winter and agreed to make some inquiries.
David said: “It was all a bit bizarre really. I did an interview with Lord Hanson and he said that if he ever bumped into the new governor he would see if he could get me an interview!”
The Yorkshire journalist also impressed Arnie’s aides with his writing style after sending copies of his interview with Lord Hanson to the governor’s office, and was invited to meet with the former film star in Los Angeles.
David said: “I think it was suggested that a regional paper would be less likely to have an agenda and would play it straight – and the national papers would follow it up anyway so they would get both bites of the cherry.”
David was one of just 17 journalists from 14 countries to be granted an interview, and was the only print reporter to have a one-on-one session with him, with others going in in teams of three.
He said: “I spent 25 minutes talking to him – it was no-holds-barred and I was very impressed by him.”
During the interview, Schwarzenegger spoke of his support for President Bush and gave praise to Tony Blair – as well as revealing plans to travel to Yorkshire as part of a world tour to promote California.
David said: “He said he had been to Leeds to take part in a bodybuilding exhibition in the late 1960s and would like to come back.
“You don’t get many scoops like this. It was a fantastic opportunity and the highlight of my career.”
The story made the front page of the broadsheet title on Tuesday, with a full-page in-depth interview inside the following day.
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