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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Arnold Schwarzenegger Holds First Press Conference As Governor- Elect Of California

Aired October 8, 2003 - 17:49   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

GOV-ELECT ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, (R) CALIFORNIA: Ever since I came to California in 1968 as an immigrant from Austria, California has been a place of endless opportunities and the place that showed to me that dreams can become reality. And yesterday, of course, I got from California, and from the people of California, the greatest gift of all, which is their trust.
So I want to thank again the voters of California for their trust. And as I said yesterday in my speech, I will make sure not to let you down, that I will make sure to earn the trust. I want to thank all of you for that.

So if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

QUESTION: Mr. Schwarzenegger?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Yes, please.

QUESTION: On a personal note, can you tell us, are you going to be living in Sacramento? Are you going to be accepting a salary for the job?

And on the business side, are you going to do the Arnold classic (ph) and promote your DVD coming out (OFF-MIKE)

SCHWARZENEGGER: That's a lot of questions. You always have 10 questions, I like that.

But first of all, let me just say that I will be working in Sacramento. I will be spending a lot of time in Sacramento. And I also will be spending a lot of time all over California, because it's very clear this is a big state and there is many, many places that I have to be. And so I will be travelling up and down the state and will continue doing that. I think it's very important that the governor is not just in Sacramento, but is all over the state.

QUESTION: Are you going to live there?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I don't know yet exactly how I am going to work that out, but I will spend a lot of time in Sacramento.

And I will continue having the world championships in power lifting and in body building and in weight lifting and in arm wrestling and all of those kind of things, yes, and also the fitness expo and those kind of things.

But obviously, all my businesses will be in a blind trust, OK?

And I just wanted to also mention to you that I had some wonderful calls today and I talked to -- first of all, I had yesterday the conciliatory phone call from Governor Davis, who was very kind and very nice and promised me a very smooth transition. And I told him we that we would do everything possible to work together with him, which was wonderful to get this phone call.

I also talked to Lieutenant Governor Bustamante yesterday and had a great, you know, conversation with him, and also this morning with Controller Steve Westly and with Senator John Burton, who again said to me that he is looking forward to working with me and that together we can accomplish a lot of things. And I believe in that, and I told him I am very optimistic about working together with the Democratic leaders in Sacramento.

I also spoke to Speaker Herb Wesson and had a wonderful conversation. We, of course, did a lot of work together because he was very much behind the after-school initiative, Proposition 49.

And then Senator Diane Feinstein I called this morning and had a good conversation. And of course, Senator Diane Feinstein and also afterwards I talked to Senator Barbara Boxer. Both of them were very, very helpful in helping me get the $400 million reinstated for after- school programs.

So we have worked together in the past, and I am looking forward working with both of them also in the future.

I also got a phone call last night before he went to China, President Bush, the 41st president of the United States. And this morning at 9 o'clock in the morning I got the phone call from President Bush, our current president. And he promised me that he would do everything possible to help California. And so I am looking forward working with him and asking him for a lot, a lot of favors.

And then also Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, I also talked to him at great lengths this morning.

And then I got other phone calls like President Nelson Mandela, because President Nelson Mandela and I worked together in South Africa when we promoted Special Olympics. I was down there for one week, and he is one of my heroes. And so we had a wonderful conversation for around 15 minutes this morning.

And many, many more, of course.

So anyways, that's -- yes, please.

QUESTION: Mr. Schwarzenegger, can I ask you, during the campaign we were trying to get information from you on what you might have to do as far as cutting programs, because there is obviously a multibillion dollar deficit.

Are you able to give us -- can you identify what you may have to cut? Should the people of California expect some painful decision by you. And do you still promise that you will never raise taxes?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, first of all, let me say that, you know, Congressman Dave Dreier is going to be the head of my transition team. And tomorrow he will hold a press conference and he will announce the team that will be on the transition team.

Second, to answer your question, we don't really know exactly what the current operating deficit is. As you know, when I began this campaign, they said it's $5 billion. During the campaign, it went to $7 billion, $8 billion. Just recently, it went to $10 billion. Or just this morning I found out that if this court case with the bonds, you know, goes through and it goes in the negative direction, it could be that our operating deficit is over $20 billion.

So the bottom line really is, is what we have to do is, is open up the books first of all, like I said, do the audit, and find where the waste is. And then we have to just go through step by step.

But in the very near future, I will be announcing all those details of what we're going to do. OK?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) what about taxes?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I campaigned that I will not raise taxes, and I say this again: I will not raise taxes.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, thank you very much. I think that I have already the greatest relationships with Austria, so I don't think I have to work on those relationships.

And, you know, it was great that all the parties in Austria, from the left to the right, they all came together, and, you know, have sent me congratulatory notes and letters and e-mails and all those things, which was fantastic to see that outpour of support from Austria. So I really appreciate that.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, first of all, I made it very clear in my campaign that I will be the people's governor, that is the most important thing, the governor for the people, not for special interests, but for everybody.

I also made it very clear that I believe in inclusion, that I will represent everybody. It doesn't matter if it's young or old, or what the racial background is, immigrants, men, women of different religious backgrounds -- everybody is included.

I see a California of 36 million people, and these are the people that I will represent.

When it comes to foreign workers, to undocumented immigrants, I will make sure that if you're going to work in that direction, it's one of the things that I will be talking about with the federal government.

So because there is a bill that Senator McCain has introduced that I think is terrific, which is gives a temporary working permits to immigrants, that they can come in and out of the country, and out of the state.

And also, you know, there's another idea that undocumented immigrants have come here before the year 2003, August of 2003, that they can apply for a visa, especially if they don't have a criminal background, and if they have a job right now they can apply for that visa.

So there's different programs. I want to push in the direction to help undocumented immigrants.

But this has nothing to do with the driver's license issue, because the driver's license issue is, I always say this, a bogus issue because it was done just quickly before the election in order to, I think, in order to get votes, and I don't want to talk negative anymore about that administration.

The election is over, so it's not right to do that, but I just want to say that I want to repeal that because I don't believe in it.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SCHWARZENEGGER: It will be all part of the visas and all part of making the undocument immigrants documented and legal in this country. It will be part of that package.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) do you think that Russian oil will be the solution for the energy crisis?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I think that it doesn't really matter where the oil comes from. The bottom line is what we need is, is alternative fuel, hydrogen fuel. We need to clean our air, we have to clean our pollution.

I campaigned on that issue. I said that everyone wants to enjoy clean air and clean water. And so we have to fight for that.

I don't believe of what people say that you can only fight for the environment or for jobs.

I think we can fight for both. I think that we can create jobs, more jobs in California, and at the same time provide a clean environment.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SCHWARZENEGGER: The people of California want me to be the governor, and I would do that if nothing else. I will work as the governor. I will work as much as I can even if it is around the clock. There will be no time for movies or anything else. I will pay full attention to this job. I take this job very seriously. And I want to make sure that I will provide the jobs that people want, that I will bring back the economy, I will bring back the jobs. I will clean up the environment, I will help with education so that we improve education.

All of those issues, we want to make sure that I concentrate on and work very hard to accomplish those things. And also, to cut down the budget, you know, the budget crisis that we have.

So there's a lot of work ahead. My mind is not on movies at all.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SCHWARZENEGGER: As I said in my campaign that it is an independent group of people, of experts, that I want to send in there and audit, open up the books and look at it line by line by line. That is the important thing.

If we work together with them, but I want to have an outside audit take care of that so I know exactly where the waste is. I want to see the waste, and I want to open up the books to the people of California so that they also can see where the waste is, where the billions of dollars are.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SCHWARZENEGGER: It could easily be. I have had the kind of political philosophy that I've had that for years and years and years. But I think that they had a definite influence on me. I would say my father-in-law, Sargent Shriver, and my mother-in-law, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, because their whole life was dedicated to public service, to helping people that are disadvantaged and to help people that need help.

And, you know, my father-in-law gave this very famous speech up at Yale University where he said to the students, "Tear down that mirror in front of you. Destroy that mirror that makes you always look at yourself. and then you will be able to look beyond that mirror. You will see millions of people out there that need your help."

And I think this is a very, very strong statement.

SCHWARZENEGGER: And it was very -- had a really a tremendous effect on me because that's exactly how I felt, you know, that when I went out to work, if it is with Special Olympics or with after-school programs or promoting health and fitness or wherever, without getting paid or without making a career move out of it, I felt always much better than going down another red carpet in a movie -- for a movie premiere, you know..

So I think that's the key thing and this is why I decided to run for governor, because I want to give back.

I mean, this is so wonderful when you have a state like California that has opened up its arms to me for all these years and given me all these opportunities, that now I have a chance to give something back, to give something back that I've gotten over all those years.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, as you see, Maria has been very involved in the campaign. She believes very strongly in the issues that I believe in. And she is a big supporter. And as I said yesterday a great partner, not only just a spectacular wife, but really a fantastic partner. And she will be working very hard as the first lady. And at the same time I am encouraging her also to go back to her journalistic, you know, profession.

I mean, she was an extraordinary journalist. And I want her to continue with that because I know it made her always very happy doing that job, although she did it only part-time because she is so into the children. We both are.

But so she has, you know, sacrificed that full-time job in New York and came out here and she's just doing it part-time. But I want her to continue with that but at the same time be first lady and also work for the state. OK.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) where they sometimes represent the extremes of both major parties. How are you going to get them all together when they don't seem to want to work together? Are you going to have to knock heads? What are you going do?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, I tell you that the very people that you talk about are the very same people that helped me last year with Proposition 49, with the After School Education And Safety Act. The Democrats and Republicans came together. They said we believe in after-school programs. They endorsed it. And this is why we won with 57 percent of the votes.

I have seen it over and over. Just now, in Washington, when we had the problem with the funding for after-school programs, I went to Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Boxer, Teddy Kennedy, and all of these guys, and also Republican leaders, and, you know, they voted, and the money went back in for after-school programs.

So I think there is much work that we can do together.

I don't think one should take the negative approach and say, you know, one are the villains and the other one are the good ones. I have talked to all those leaders today, to Senator Burton and all those guys, Wesson, and they all said, "We're looking forward to working with you, Arnold." It will be terrific. I think we can accomplish a lot together.

And I believe that. I think we can accomplish a lot together. It's all about leadership. What I want to bring to Sacramento is leadership. That's what I promised in this campaign and this is what I will provide, is leadership, bring the people together and let them know that the people of California have voted against the system that is existing right now. They want a new direction. SCHWARZENEGGER: They want to go in a direction that moves forward, in a positive way. And they want change. And that's what we have to give them.

The legislators up there have gotten that message last night, that the people of California want change.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SCHWARZENEGGER: If you could repeat your question?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SCHWARZENEGGER: As soon as I get into office and as soon as I become officially the governor and I get sworn it, I will sit down with the Indian gaming tribes and start working together with them so we can figure out ways of getting additional funds and for them to participate and, hopefully, you know, work out good compacts (ph) for the state of California because we are in a financial crisis now. And, you know, I want them to participate.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) car tax, they want to know if the first day, you are going to rescind that law (OFF-MIKE)

SCHWARZENEGGER: First of all, I will, as soon as I get into office, rescind the car tax. I have my now legal advisers now working on that so we can figure out exactly how to do that, because there is a debate over it.

Can it be done the first day or not? My legal advisers say yes. And, of course, Senator Burton today said, "You know, no, there is an obstacle there."

But I say we have a difference of opinion there. I say we can do it. That's number one. That's number one.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHWARZENEGGER: Excuse me. I haven't answered the second question, if you don't mind.

Then, number two: I will make sure that I can meet with President Bush as quickly as possible because I have a whole bunch of business, California business, to talk to him about and to take care of. And I want to make sure that we get, as I have said many times -- we are pay $1 -- for each dollar that we pay in federal tax, we only get 77 cents back.

So there's a lot of things, a lot of money we can get from the federal government and also other help. President Bush has assured me today he will do everything possible to help the state of California and to help me to achieve my goals. So I will meet with him, hopefully next week when he comes to California.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, like I said earlier, you know, we have -- if it is the Indian gaming money or if it is working on the workers compensation reform, medical and all those things, there's billions of dollars, all of those things.

But right now, what we have to really find out is what is the true operating deficit. And we have to also to find out what is the waste. What kind of waste do we see? That's why I say the auditing is extremely important.

Then we can look at all of those things and put a plan together.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SCHWARZENEGGER: You like that, huh?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, first of all, just to get into more specifics here, the broom was a gesture of, like, "I'm going to be out there cleaning house."

So it has nothing to do with anything with the White House. It's cleaning house. I want to get rid of, you know, the special interests influence, the bureaucracy. Those are the kind of things that I talked about when I had the broom in my hand in Sacramento. I think it was a good visual. Don't you agree with that?

Thank you.

But anyway, I'm looking forward to working, like I said, with President Bush.

Now I've become the representative of California. I'm the governor of California. And therefore I have to go to President Bush and to make sure that the federal government participates the way they ought to in order to help this state. If it is with energy problems, if it is with water problems, if it is with getting more money for the state, all of those issues. There's many, things that we can do together.

SCHWARZENEGGER: And therefore, I am looking forward working with President Bush on those issues.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, first of all, as you know, I am an admirer of President Fox, of your president. And I have talked to him when he was out here in California, just, I think it was a year and a half ago, so, about a lot of those issues. And I am looking forward working with him and working on a lot of those issues.

So I mean, as I say, you know, I will receive everyone with open arms. My arms will be open to all of those ideas and I am looking forward to that.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) How was it with your kids this morning? And how was the first day with the family?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, my daughter brought me coffee this morning, to my bed. And she woke me up and whispered in my ear and says, "Mr. Governor, your coffee is ready."

(LAUGHTER)

So this is how the morning started, which was very cute of her, it was Katherine.

But you're right. I mean, my son, you know, he needs a lot of attention, which all children do. And this last eight weeks, it was very tough, even though I made it home almost every night and tucked him into bed and tried to take him to school in the morning, but it was very difficult. And they have missed me a lot.

And so my son did say "I hope you lose, so we have our daddy back" because he thinks I am going to move now to Sacramento and I am not going to come back again for months and months and months like that. So they have their own imagination of what this job is like. And I promised him that I will see him as many times as possible.

And it's like being on a movie set or on a movie location, sometimes I'm home and sometimes I'm not home. So they understand. They're much calmer now about the whole thing.

Thank you.

QUESTION: What else did you do today?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Today I worked out as usual. I get up early in the morning, at 6 o'clock, I got up and worked out for an hour. I do this every morning. And I read while I work out, do my briefings and study. There is a lot of things I have to catch up with, obviously.

And then I had breakfast with my wife and with the children, played with them. And, you know, then read, made a lot of phone calls. And then the whole morning I received phone calls from all over the world, congratulatory phone calls from Senate leaders, congressional leaders, legislators from Sacramento and all this. So it was a terrific morning, a very exciting morning, I would say.

OK. you very much for all of you being here. This is very exciting to have so many journalists here. I really appreciate it. And please do me a favor, stay with me the next three years, OK, because you are absolutely essential for me to get my message out there. I really appreciate you being part of this campaign.

Thank you very much.

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