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Schwarzenegger Says It's Time To Make Nice

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger shown in a Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2005 file photo.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, FILE
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., says he is in his "post-partisan phase," and he hopes his new attitude will carry over to the 2008 presidential hopefuls from both parties.

"It just means that you ultimately want to serve the people rather than your party," he told Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer. "Because I think the elected officials are public servants and not party servants."

Schwarzenegger said that during his first three years as governor, he has learned to shed the 'us-versus-them' mentality and concentrate on serving the people. When he first sought the governorship, Schwarzenegger came our as a strong fiscal Republican and tried whittle down government, but some of his statewide initiatives failed. After his approval rate dropped to 30 percent, he moved back to the center.

"It was very clear that the people said, 'You know, we don't want you to fight. We want you to get along and we want both of the parties to work together -- that's why we sent you to Sacramento'," he said. "And so we started really giving birth to ideas together rather than they come up with their own package, we come up with our own package, and then we just go and compromise."

On Monday, he will deliver a speech about the importance of being a centrist to the National Governors Conference. He said he will focus on working together with members of the opposite party without losing principals.

Although he said he has no plans to run for another office, Schwarzenegger said the lessons he learned in California could help those running for president in 2008.

"Every human being makes mistakes," he said. "And that's why they understand when a politician says, you know, I made a mistake. It's that simple. Now, with Hillary Clinton, I think that people should, when it comes to the war, should elevate this whole discussion and really not, you know, pick on things like that, but really try to get along in Washington if it is the war or anything else."

Anti-war Democrats have criticized Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., for her original vote to authorize the war in Iraq, and Clinton has endured further controversy because she won't give her constituents a clear apology for her war vote.

Schwarzenegger said politicians should only apologize if they believe they made the wrong choice and perhaps Clinton does not think she was wrong.

The governor said he would not endorse any candidate in the 2008 race until after the California primary, but Schwarzenegger has been very complimentary of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has long been considered a maverick of the Republican Party.

"I'm very happy with the campaign – I mean, with McCain – simply because he has been a pro-environment person, and someone that believes very strongly in the environment and also protecting the economy at the same time," Schwarzenegger said.