The 55-year-old star of the "Terminator" movies, who spoke to a taxpayer advocacy group Tuesday night at a Century City hotel, brushed off questions about his political ambitions.
"I'm telling you right now that I'm just thinking about `Terminator' and not about anything else," he told The Associated Press.
But he delivered a campaign-style speech to the conservative Washington anti-tax group Club for Growth.
"There comes a point when we the people must demand more out of our elected officials than for them just showing up," Schwarzenegger said.
"Our elected officials in Sacramento are facing a budget crisis unseen in this state since the Great Depression, and it was entirely avoidable. Entirely avoidable. Teachers are getting pink slips, cops are getting laid off and the taxpayers are facing an increase in taxes and California's future is in danger."
His political advisers have said Schwarzenegger will decide whether to run after the July 2 release of "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines," and only then if it becomes clear an effort under way to recall Democratic Gov. Gray Davis will qualify for the ballot. Supporters need to collect nearly 900,000 valid voter signatures to make that happen.
The actor mentioned the recall only indirectly in his speech, quipping at one point, "This is really embarrassing. I just forgot our state governor's name, but I know that you will help me recall him."
The Austrian-born former body building champion also poked fun at his lingering accent and at being married to NBC News correspondent Maria Shriver, a Democrat and member of the Kennedy family.
He pledged to stay married to Shriver in sickness and in health, Schwarzenegger said, adding, "And being a Democrat is a sickness."