In interviews and at a press conference yesterday, Schwarzenegger ruled out a run for another office after his term ends in 2011. He added that because he no longer needed to weigh electoral considerations, he had the freedom to raise taxes and to make other unpopular decisions in an effort to fix California's $42 billion budget shortfall.
"Now I raised taxes, but I'm not running for anything," Schwarzenegger told the Los Angeles Times. "So I'm more comfortable with it because I'm not running for anything, because I know it's the right thing. Even though I promised the people of California I'm not going to raise taxes, at the same time I said I'm not going to sign a pledge, because what if there's an emergency?"
Should the governor change his mind, he'll have to mend fences with many Californians, including those voters from within his own party. A poll released yesterday by the Public Policy Institute of California showed that support for the movie star turned governor and his handling of the fiscal crisis is at an all time low. Only 33 percent of likely voters approved of Schwarzenegger's performance and, for the first time, a majority of Republican voters (54 percent) disapprove of the job he is doing.
The post that the Austrian-born governor has long coveted – the presidency – remains out of reach barring a constitutional amendment. Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution states that only "natural born" U.S. citizens are eligible to be president.
"I am not running for Senate, I am not running for Congress, I am not running for another term as governor, and I definitely cannot ... run for the presidency because the Constitution doesn't allow it," Schwarzenegger said at a press conference announcing a relocation plan for homeless families camped out at the state fairgrounds in Sacramento.
Will this be hasta la vista to Schwarzenegger's political career, or could the moderate Republican find a spot in the Obama administration once he steps down? He has been a champion of the president's stimulus plan, and his wife, Maria Shriver, is a member of the Kennedy family – a clan that holds quite a few chips with this White House.