Arnold Optimistic On Budget Crisis

Arnold Schwarzenegger California recall victory
CBS/AP
RATHER: First of all, thanks for doing this.

SCHWARZENEGGER: My pleasure.

RATHER: Who do you like in the World Series?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I don't get involved in that. I'm too busy now with the politics, and with straightening up California.

RATHER: What's the first thing you said to your wife this morning?

SCHWARZENEGGER: As every morning, "I love you. And thank you for your support."

RATHER: What's the first thing she said to you?

SCHWARZENEGGER: The same thing. I think it's always very important to wake up in the morning, and to tell each other that you love you-- you love each other, you know?

RATHER: Well, I have all kinds of questions about politics. But first, let's talk about movies. Will you continue to act in movies?

SCHWARZENEGGER: If I will be the real Terminator, where I don't need sleep, and I'm a machine, that would be a dream, during the night movies, and during the day, run as a commander in California. But this is not the reality.

The reality is that you have to give up one to do the other. And I'm more than happy to give up the movies. I've done it for 25 years. And I've done it successfully. So now it's time to do this.

And I think that this is, it's just such a huge challenge, to make an impact in California, and to straighten out the economy, and to bring jobs back for the people that, you know, I will have my hands full. I will be working around the clock.

RATHER: So, no more movies, at least for awhile?

SCHWARZENEGGER: No more movies. While I'm doing this, there will be no movies. No, absolutely not.

RATHER: In your judgment, is there going to be a recall of the recall effort made?

SCHWARZENEGGER: No. I'm only thinking of one thing. And that is to move forward with this state. And then the people have spoken loud and clear yesterday. They want me to be their governor. They want me to make the changes as as I promised them. And that's what I'm concentrating on. I'm not concentrating on anything negative.

I've talked to most of the Democratic leaders of this state, and also our senators, Senators Boxx and Feinstein. And everyone has assured me that they're really optimistic. And that they think we can work together. And they will do everything that they can to make sure that we work on behalf of the people. So, I don't think there will be any mean spiritedness going on.

I mean, maybe it's naive to think that. You know? Because I'm doing this. But I think that we will be able to work together, and in a positive way. And we will make a tremendous impact in this state.

RATHER: I want to follow up on that. I recognize you said all through the campaign that you would turn the state around economically. But you know the facts. You say you're not going to raise taxes. Eighty percent of the current spending is mandated by law. So, how can you possibly do what you said you'd do in the campaign?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, you see you're maybe one of those guys that sees the glass half empty. I see the glass half full. And there's always a way of doing it.

I was asked the same question when I started working out, and before I became a champion in body building. How are you gonna do that? I talked this morning, for instance, with President Mandela. He called me and congratulated me. And we talked about the great challenge he had in South Africa. Of course, you can't do everything. But I mean, he made a tremendous impact.

And he said this is the most important thing. To make an impact, to make the changes, and to be positive about it. To work together with people. And to be inclusive. That's exactly the way I am. I know I will able to do those kind of things. I know we will be able to bring the economy back. I know that we will be working on the budget deficit and try to cut that down.

You know, the thing is, is that as you get into this whole thing, you realize of course that it is much worse than it really was set out to be. I mean, first they talked about there's an operating deficit of $5 billion. Then as the campaign continued on, it was $6 billion. Then it was seven, then eight. And then they lost one court case. Now it's $10 billion. Senator Feinstein told me that it could very well be that within the next month or two, we will find out that it will be actually $20 billion.

So you have to deal with those kind of issues as they come along. There's a lot of hidden things right now going on. That's why I always said, you know, that there are more special effects in our budget than in Terminator III.
RATHER: Nice sound byte. On the other side, one of the more favorite sound bytes is listen, Arnold Schwarzenegger does not have any idea of a detailed plan. So, therefore he's running, quote, "Voodoo economics," which is something left over from the Reagan administration, as you know.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, one thing you know for sure. And that is that the past administration has all the ideas, and all the details. And what happened? One thing I know for sure that I have is the will to fight for the people. The will to make things change. The will to go up there, and not make special interests run the business up there as usual.

I will stop that. I will fight that. I will fight for the people. And I will make sure that people get jobs again. It's just too many people right now that are suffering in California. Too many people that are laid off. And they're seeing the American dream slipping away from them. What I want to make sure is, I think everyone should have the joy of having a job. You know?

I know what it is like to work, and to feel productive. And I think everyone wants to feel productive, and have a job, so that they can make money, and provide for their family. That's the least thing that we should provide, you know? And we should-- and not that government should provide the job. But they should provide an atmosphere, a positive, business atmosphere so that businesses can conduct the businesses here, and run the businesses. And not beat up on them all the time with high worker's compensation, and high energy cost, and all the things that makes them move to Nevada, or to New Mexico, or to Texas.

And so, that's what we want to start here. We just have to create a positive business environment. And so, from then on there is look, there's many, many things that we will be laying out. I have the most detailed plan. If you go on my Web site, you will see all the things that I have proposed in government reform: environmental issues, economic issues, budget, the deficit, and all of those kind of things.

As a matter of fact, [I] had the most sophisticated and the most detailed plan made out. And when I go up there I will be working on those things. I mean, I think the legislators up there know what my plan is. They know what my goal is. And this is why I had such a positive reaction the day when I called them.

When I called the leaders up there, very positive. I know what you want to do. You know, Senator Feinstein, they love to be involved in education. Love to think. Senator Boxer, I love the environmental things that you stand for. I don't like off shore oil drilling.

I think it's not right for our shores. It's the best coastline, and all these things. Yeah, I want to work with you on those issue.
Very positive. I think we can get things done.

RATHER: I want to set the record straight. I'm not one of the guys who sees the glass half empty or half full. I just see the glass. (laughter) I want to move on to other subject.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Typical journalist. (laughter)

RATHER: Well, I want to move away from economics. But the record shows that Ronald Reagan, who came to the governorship in California, saying he would not raise taxes, found a situation in which he eventually had to raise taxes by about $1 billion. Now if Ronald Reagan couldn't do it, with all of your optimism, all of your determination, your strength of will, how can you do it?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, as soon as we get in there, I will show you. Remember one thing. Action is always much stronger than words. So, you have to just watch.

And then we will do interviews. We call this the first of a series of interviews. Okay? This is part one. Then you will come up to Sacramento, and we do part two. In the middle, when you see all the action, and when you see all of a sudden, the jobs increase.

The amount of jobs that will be available. When you see that we're cutting down on the budget, you will come back then. And then we do another interview. And then we do series, part three. And this is how we are going to go on, like a sequel to movies.

RATHER: I'll hold you to that. I like that sequel.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Absolutely. Absolutely, yeah.

RATHER: Well, you said actions are stronger than words. Let me play some of your words. The background of this question is, as you know, Senator Orin Hatch, and Tom Delay, Republican power in the house, have a movement under way to amend the Constitution so that you could run for President. You and other people, who are not born in this country.

Now you've been, with that as background, you've been quoted as saying, "Modesty is not a word that applies to me in any way." And you also said, well, let's just drop there. How does President Arnold Schwarzenegger sound to you?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I have no interest in running for any higher office. I have gone into this not to start a political career. I got into this because I thought that I can help California.

That I am an outsider. That I can do things that will have a tremendous impact, because I'm not beholden to anyone. I don't owe anyone anything. And second go up there and do things that other politicians will not be able to do.

I will always talk to the people. I always will explain to them what the situation is, what the challenges are. And I will have them be able to look inside Sacramento. I will make sure that we open up the doors, and the windows, so that the people can again, have confidence in the government. Because right now what is going on is when you ask people on the street, their opinion, the attitude about government is so terrible.

It's horrible, that you have to change that. This is very, very destructive. We want to make sure that people don't think that politics is all about you know, dirty money, and deals behind the scene, deals and all those kind of things. But that it should be open. That there should be hearings on every issue out there. You know? That there should not be secret deals at midnight, politicians are sneaking in there, and passing bills, and stuff like that.

That is not right. That's why I proposed a very strong government reform. A political reform. That's what we need up there. So, those are the kind of things that you can do when you're an outsider. You can go in there. You say, "I'm gonna create certain changes."

Other politicians would not be able to do that. That's what my mission is here, is to help California. Not to run for any higher office, or to become President, or anything like that.

RATHER: Well, I want to make sure that I understand. You are not saying that you'll never run for President?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I have no interest in running for President. This is not my goal. And never has been.

RATHER: You once said, "I always believed in shooting for the top." This is a big job. Most important governorship in the United States, perhaps. But it's not the very top. So, as I speak to you, I have this in mind in saying to myself, surely Arnold Schwarzenegger sometime is gonna wanna go for the top.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, you know, you're taking quotes of mine from the Pumping Iron movie, and from the body building career, and all those kind of things. I'm telling you, just only recently have I started thinking about even running for governor. This is not my goal

I mean, my goal was always to be an actor and an entertainer. And to move from acting to producing, and directing eventually. Just to create and build some stimulation, mentally, and not to just do the same thing all the time. But then when the problem came up, three years ago already, in California, I saw California taking a dive economically.

And when I saw people losing jobs and stuff, I started thinking seriously about running. Because this is my favorite place in the world. As I said yesterday in my acceptance speech, I mean, California has given me everything. From the time I came here in 1968 as an immigrant, this place has opened up it's arms to me. And every opportunity that I've gotten is because of California.

If it's entertainment or body building, or business or anything like this. And here, this is a perfect example again. The people have given me the greatest gift anyone can ever get, which is their trust. And now I have to just go to work, and represent the people of California.

RATHER: You know, there are those who are saying, some insiders are saying that your victory, among other things, is a result of incumbents not paying enough attention to an angry populace below. Both Democrats and Republicans are saying that. Do you think that was the biggest factor in your being elected? And do you think it's a factor for the upcoming Presidential year?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I think that the people have shown they have trust in me. First of all, they were disappointed at the performance of the current administration. And you know, I think that I have to admit I felt a little bit uncomfortable you know, talking about that today.

Because the campaign is over. So, I don't want to say anything negative about Governor Davis. I want to just talk about you know, how we are gonna move forward. And I am very happy that the people have shown their confidence in me. And that they want someone from the outside. Typical politics or the politicians is not what we want at this point.

We want someone from the outside. I think Arnold, we know his character. He is the kind of a guy, that if he sets his mind on something, he will follow through. And that's exactly the way I am. When I made a commitment that I will do everything I can to work with the people, and to work with the political leaders up there, to make some change for the positive, to bring California back again.

And to make it the Golden state. They have shown me that they have trust in me. And now, I will prove that they were not wrong.

RATHER: No, you mentioned that you're making every effort to, now that the election's over, to say to Democrats, Senators in Washington, as well as Democratic workers here, that you want to work with them. I'm interested to know, correct me if I'm wrong. You're pro choice. You support gay rights. And I believe, again correct me if I'm misinformed, that today may be the first time you've mentioned God in a speech. Is that true?
SCHWARZENEGGER: No.

RATHER: Not true?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I have, as a matter of fact, many times thanked God for everything that He has done for me.

RATHER: OK,sorry.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I know Dan, that this is not my doing, the things that are happening to me and my career, the wonderful life that I have, the extraordinary family that I have, like I said yesterday, the most spectacular wife. I mean, this is unusual things. You know, I am blessed.

And I'm blessed because of being in the greatest country in the world. And I'm blessed by God. I mean, this is, a lot of this is God's doing. I mean, let's not make a mistake here. This is not just our doing.

RATHER: Where I was going with the question, let's strike that part of it. But you're pro choice. You support gay rights. You mentioned the off shore oil drilling. To a lot of people, you sound like a card carrying member of the Democratic party, not your classic Republican candidate.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Whatever your definition is of a classic Republican candidate. I mean, remember things change all the time. I yesterday talked about, you know, to people about you know, how we as the government, has to help people.

You know, there's a lot of people that need help. And I've seen it with after-school programs. I've seen it with education, how we have to go in there, and help. Kennedy, in the 60s, who was a Democrat, said, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." And this is a Democrat.

Imagine how roles have reversed. So, this is dangerous and things. You can't really go by that. What you have to go with is, is people have voted of what is in my heart. People have voted of what I stand for. Not Republican or Democrat. You know, there's an entire campaign has very rarely ever mentioned the word Democrat or Republican.

RATHER: That's true.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Because it is irrelevant. It is irrelevant. What is important here is I happen to be a Republican, because I was introduced to the whole Republican philosophy by Richard Nixon. President when Nixon ran against Humphrey in 1968, I just came to this country.

And I listened to their discussions, and their press conferences. And I remember I had a friend sitting there with me, translating. And so, I said when Humphrey talked, I said, "Well, this is like, sounds like socialism in Austria."

And then when Nixon talked, I said, "Wait. Opening up the borders. Free trade. Strong military. Get the government off your back. Lowering the taxes." All of those kind of things. I said, "Wow, what party is he from?" And my friend said, "He's a Republican." And I said, "Well, then I am a Republican." So, that's how I became a Republican. But that does not mean that I have to just follow that.

I mean, I can have, you know, different certain issues that maybe the Republicans don't always agree with. But the people of California have gotten to know me enough to say, "We want to vote for this guy. We trust him. And that whatever he stands for, that's what we want to vote for."

RATHER: I'm getting a wrap up here. But I have one question, and one question only in this area. You've been through a lot with these accusations about your past. You apologized.

You said it's in the past. You said you might have something to say about it after the election. I wanna ask you a hypothetical question. If your wife came to you and said that some man had groped and grabbed her, and she used words like disgusted, afraid, humiliated to describe how she felt, as a husband, as a man, what would you do?

SCHWARZENEGGER: She has come to me in the past, and said that. So, I mean, I totally understand that. But let's not forget that I have said that the past, that I apologize if I offended anyone. And I take those charges seriously.

And I was hurt because I read a lot of things that are not true. But those who might be true, I want to let them know that I feel terrible about that. But in the same time, I realize all that, that this is a, was a campaign.

There's a lot of dirty tricks are pulled. And it was like you know, the kind of campaign that sometimes you see when people are scrambling, and trying to win, and can't, and then they pull out all of these kind of stuff. So, that's what this was about.

RATHER: Well, you've been very patient with your time. And I appreciate it. If you have anything else that you want the people of California and the people of the United States, and America to know at this time, I want to give you an opportunity to say it.

SCHWARZENEGGER: No. I think Dan, you have done a terrific job. Like you say when you sit down, you're gonna do the best interview possible. (LAUGHTER) And you did. (LAUGHTER) So, thank you very much.

RATHER: I look forward to the sequel.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Thank you. Exactly. (LAUGHTER) Thank you.