Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday said the presidential candidates should end the smear campaigns and get back to the issues.
"Look at what the presidential campaign has reduced down to: They now are accusing each other of things that have nothing to do with the economy, that have nothing to do with health care, that have nothing to do with the environment, that have nothing to do with, you know, how we deal with foreign countries," Schwarzenegger said.
He made the comments during a discussion with Time magazine Managing Editor Richard Stengel at the American Magazine Conference.
The presidential race has turned sharply negative in the last week, as McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, has raised Obama's ties to 1960s-era radical William Ayers and the Obama campaign released a video recounting McCain's involvement in the 1980s Keating Five savings and loan scandal.
"I think it's very important that we urge both of the candidates to go out and to start talking about those (other) issues again because I think that's what the people want to know," Schwarzenegger said, hours before the candidates were to engage in their second debate.
The Republican governor, who has endorsed McCain, stopped short of blaming either candidate for the campaign's negative turn with less than a month to go before Election Day.
He said some of it is just the nature of a political campaign, where a candidate's words get picked apart every day.
Stengel asked Schwarzenegger about his former campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, who is credited with turning McCain's campaign around during the Republican primary but who also is seen as one of those most responsible for its negative tone
Schwarzenegger defended Schmidt, who ran his 2006 re-election campaign. He called him "a guru of this world, and I think that if you want to have a campaign run effectively, he is the man.
Reporters covering the event were not given an opportunity to question Schwarzenegger and ask him to explain the apparent contradiction in his statements.