Schwarzenegger: ‘I Was Addicted To Being Governor’

Dismisses low popularity as 'just a snapshot'

LOS ANGELES (CBS) —Arnold Schwarzenegger is pulling no punches in his first formal interview since leaving office, claiming that the highest office in the state left him “addicted” to its power.

In a recent sit-down the former governor granted to the Austrian newspaper Krone, Schwarzenegger estimates that his seven years as governor cost him about $200 million – $70 million of that in lost movie roles.

Schwarzenegger also laments the fact that Hollywood salaries have dropped since he left the business.

He said his abysmal popularity rankings were “just a snapshot” and that “they would have rocketed to the top” had he not been forced out of office by term limits.

Nowhere in the transcripts from the interview posted on the newspaper’s website did Schwarzenegger face any questions about alleged favoritism in his decision to grant clemency to the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez.

KNX 1070’s Chris Sedens reports.

He acknowledged the sorry state of the California’s budget, and his approval ratings that had plummeted to below those of Gray Davis, whom he unseated in a recall election.

Schwarzenegger said if he’d known how hard California would be hit by the recession, he would have started cutting state spending much earlier.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

  • JR

    You’ve got to be kidding me. The only reason why this guy was put into office was because Gray Davis and company helped to increase our budget deficit to 6 billion dollars. THAT is why he should have been cutting, not waiting until the bottom dropped out, standing there in 20 billion dollars worth of trouble, and then going ‘uh oh’. He was elected because he was socially moderate, and the guy with the true money credentials, McClintock, was ‘too conservative’. CA will never learn. Put someone in place that understands numbers and things will turn around. Keep putting in feel good candidates and bankruptcy is on the horizon.

    • Ray Magee

      Absolutely right. Gov moonbeam wants Californians OK increased taxes in return for budget cuts. Those cuts will only last until the tax increases are approved. If then people fall for this they are dumber than dirt.

    • dannymendlow

      Constitution be damned. Arnie’s gonna be president.

      Among other things…

    • Vee

      Absolutely! I supported McClintock, and urged my friends and colleagues to do the same. I was just ill with chagrin when Arnie was elected – the more so because of how many fellow business owners voted for him.

      The state IS a business and needs to be run like one. His job was to see the bad time coming, and not act like the halcyon days of housing and tech bubble money would never end.

      I’ve left the state now, but hope to return when things get better. My fear is that things will have to get much worse before the majority can be brought to see how they can be made better with a REAL change in policy and practice.

      • Ray Magee

        I left in the 90’s and they have not gotten better since then. You’ve got a long wait.

    • Michael Jay McCarthy

      I couldn’t agree with you more. The governator promised to run California like a business. He failed. He truly failed. Rush Limbaugh tried to get him to come to his senses but he took another puff off of his $20.00 cigar and laughed. I supported this guy much to my chagrin.

      • Mike McQuade

        Yea to my chagrin as well. I should have called it a spade day one and admited we were all really voting in Kennedy because we all know who wears the pants in that family.

    • Kari

      The reason our budget is such a mess is because the minority party can hold it hostage with a 3rd of the vote. Plus, the voters keep tying the hands of the Legislature. It doesn’t matter who gets elected to Governor. We need a new Constitution in this state or we’re never going to recover.
      Although I will agree that the cuts should have started immediately upon his taking office.

      • Ray Magee

        Yes and Illinois is doing so well.

      • Todd

        Right, because the legislature & governor’s position in the hands of all Democrats is the way to go. No overspending or deficits there.

        No party is fiscally conservative. Every person at the top of government is to blame for the mess California is in. But what you said is absolutely laughable.

      • john

        wow .
        a third of the goverment .
        you are right it should be all democrat.
        it would be so much better.
        I didn’t realize the power they had.

      • ed

        LOL if it was all Democrat Kalifornia would have gone bankrupt 5 times by now, and would probably be the property of the People Republic of China….lol…to think that someone actually thinks a government of all democrats would work…lol too much…

    • patoy

      You’re so right dude. Everytime we have moderates they will fall to one side and it’s usually Socialism. Californians don’t like to listen. Watch when the ex Governor who had been voted in again, and after for so long is going to do the same old tricks when he was elected before. It’s like a drunken husband who beats his emotionally misfit wife files for a restraining order, then when the husband is sober, she literally falls for the misfit emotion again, thinking that the husband had changed for the better, Husband drinks again then this time kills the emotionally driven misfit wife. Tsk.. Tsk.. Tsk.. I hope I’m wrong with my assumption that, this ex Governor will somehow turn California around with the mess that I believed he helped created while he was the Atty. General under the dumbminator..

    • Ralph

      Schwarzenegger was handed the governeurship by his wife. Had there been a general election this farmer would have never been in office. It’s all about him and he offends everyone around him with his stupid comments. Now he wants to become president of Austria. Hope they keep him.

    • SlackerSlayer

      No you ar wrong. The swartz was installed because Davis was sueing the power companies for $11 Billion for the return of that increase of over 3,000 percent in our electricity bills. But I don’t think that is in your agenda either. Does Enron ring any criminal bells to you people.

  • Joseph

    Schwarzenegger turned out to be almost as stupid as the Democrats whose spending he failed to control.

    • Howard K

      Not almost as stupid – He is at least as stupid or more so. Then he made it worse with the Nunez fiasco. GOOD RIDDANCE!

    • john

      Not almost as stupid.
      i think he went well past them

  • Ameriwise

    Let him go to Michigan and work on their problems. He’s exactly what they need.

    • Tuff Lynx

      Nooo! Don’t send him to Michigan! We have enough problems already!

  • Harpotoo

    Yeah you like all others empowered in the Cali governorship were as they were EPIC FAILS!

  • Adrian Vance

    Oh my God, the Vicimator? Wht next? Sorry Arnold, that ain’t gonna fly.

    For conservative thought, science and humor see: The Two Minute Conservative for radio/tv hosts, opinion page editors and you. Also on Kindle.

  • walter12

    Schwarzenegger went down hill when he surrendered to the Leftists in the General Assembly, the Mexican lobby, and the environmentalists, two years into his first administration. He never recovered from that.

  • Hank Warren

    All politicians are ‘addicted’ to power and support endless Wars for Israel, it all started nearly a decade ago under a false flag attack.
    9/11 and Israel, here:

    • Greg

      OMG get a blog. This isn’t even about Israel. How pathetic!

      • jack salami

        yes, hank is looser.

    • Jason Hill


    • ed

      Conspiracy loons should be locked up and given shock treatment before they pull a Jared Loughner…

    • Ray Magee

      You belong on the Ed Schultz show.

  • BaubnmiKnaubin

    Nice interview! You FAILED to address the most controversial act he has done with the political cronyism he should to Nunez by granting clemency. No wonder they get away with it in Ca. ! There is no one to call them on their shenanigans.Keep failing Cali! Az is here to take your jobs away!

    • Kari

      It was an Austrian newspaper that conducted the interview – it’s doubtful they even know about the clemency thing (or even that the interview took place after that announcement). I know you outsiders love to blame everything on the SF media, but perhaps you should pay attention to what is actually said in the article before you decide to rant about it. Stick to your own politics, AZ.

  • Phil Simms

    Is that all that the Governorship cost Mr. Progressive Schwarzenegger, about 200m? It cost Cal-ee-forn-ee-ah 2500 times more, just counting the unfunded pension liabilities alone. Even the aftermath of a cocaine high cannot compare to that type of fiscal tsunami. “I’ll be back”… of to which I say, oh no you won’t.

  • New Jerey Boy

    So…The infamous Recall Vote, which cost california millions and millions of dollars was nothing more than a waste? The Gubernator leaves the state in the worst condition of it’s existence but…don’t worry: If we only get rid of Term Limits his popularity would soar????

    What a moron. You cannot run a state, or a country without a tax base. Cut the tax base to look popular amongst millionaires DOES NOT pay for the other 99% of the citizen’s needs – such as roads, school or hospitals. When will you republicans learn: THERE IS NO SUCH THING A A FREE LUNCH.

    • David

      “No Free Lunch” – indeed. You cannot keep raising taxes and expect everything to work out. You cannot forget that revenue is not generated by government – it is generated by business and individual citizens. If you raise taxes to the point of killing business and chasing individuals away, it doesn’t matter how high the tax rate is – you still won’t have enough money. What “No Free Lunch” means is that when it comes to government spending, sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money. More taxes is not the answer. What is, you ask? Less spending, and tax rates that will encourage business to grow – and create jobs.

    • Shep

      Wrong! The reason he failed is he went Left, not Right.

    • Big Dog

      When will we learn there is no such thing as a free lunch coming from someone who wants to tax the wealthy to pay for his needs.

      The free lunch is for progressives who think everyone else should be paying.

      • John Patricio

        “a free lunch coming from someone who wants to tax the wealthy to pay for his needs”

        Someone like… Jesus?

      • Ray Magee

        No John. Jesus did not say to tax people for other people’s need. He urged charity. That is voluntary. Taxation is done at the point of a gun.

    • LaRaza Nunez

      Gray got recalled because he was typical in his fee and tax hikes. Arnold was supposed to be economically conservative but turned out just wanted to be liked by the socialist democrats and mexicans.

      You are right about one thing… we need a tax base. But a tax base needs jobs. Democrat ideology kills jobs and discourages and punishes successful people. Also, the majority of people do not pay taxes but use most of the services. Mexican nationals, whether they are janitors are murderous gang members are a horrible and expensive drain.

      Actually you were right about another thing, There is no such thing as a free lunch.

    • Blake

      Im not sure you totally understand the “No free lunch” concept here. At least for Economics, that does not apply to this scenario? No free lunch is generally referenced to show how ppl who think “free” government services are actually free.

      They arent, they are paid for by taxpayers, and to attract MORE taxpayers you need to lower taxes. Think about it, if you were a CEO and you could pay less to run your business in a different state, wouldnt you do that? That would entail then moving your workforce/labor force who also pay taxes not to mention your payroll taxes.

      So raising taxes is a short term fix to a long term problem. Tax raises should only be used to harness in an Economy that is growing at unsustainable rates.

      Just my opinion from a dumb Economist.

    • Ed

      Then why do you keep insisting on giving lazy democrats that free lunch on the backs of the working middle class republicans? Don’t be a hypocrit…

  • Thierry Dijonnaise

    wow. just …wow…

  • Guido in FL

    Come on Arinie you blew it and were in over your head. Go back to what you know, making movies.

  • Czechbikr

    Yes, it is just too bad that he wasn’t addicted to GOVERNING !

  • smokehouse56

    What can one say other than he is an elitist, muscle brained self serving politician. And a bad one at that.

  • Alberto

    Yes, Arnold, just a snapshot of two, long, tailed terms. Who elected you and why did they do so? On your promises to fix the massive debt created by Gray Davis and the Democrat-dominated state legislature. Instead, you abandoned Republican values, embraced Democrats, and left the state beyond bankrupt. A real Kodak moment.

  • Joe

    He’s an ignorant, out of touch movie star. What else can be said?


    This idiot sunk California to a new low. Please tell me what qualifications this guy had to be elected Governor of the largest State. Absolutely NONE. This is the sad state of US politics today. He should be chased out of this country and never allowed to return.

  • bvdon

    Arnold governed through the housing crisis… no politician is going to look good in that scenario. On top of that, CA has been on a long trend of chronic over spending. May as well hand it over to Mexico at this point.

  • BMF

    Great, California elects an inexperienced, muscle-bound, egotistical person who earned a living pretending that he was someone else to be their governor. What could possibly go wrong?

    Well, he also turned out to be so addicted to power that he allowed the legislature to drive California into a financial hole that will most likely require the rest of the country to bail it out with hard earned dollars that should go to states and programs that are beneficial instead of rewarding systemic failure in California.

    Arnold may have lost $200 million, but Californian’s lost billions and possibly their state as they once knew it.

    I have to say, it’s the people of California who keep electing liberals who believe they can spend their way to prosperity with crushing taxes and unfunded mandates on businesses. You deserve the hard times you brought upon yourselves. No pity here, my friends.

    • Ray Magee

      I for one will urge my reps to refuse any bail out for any state. I will also contribute to the opponent of any rep that does.

    • Zanda

      What a dumb world we live in,a muscle bound parrot govenor lolOnly in the movies!Wake up world!

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  • August

    And like every other addict, they destroy everything they touch!

  • Laughing at Fools

    No surprise. Addicted to power, addicted to spending. What a collossal failure he turned out to be. Now he can be just a Kennedy….. a world of addictions await….Poor Arnold lost $200 million, by being governor…The citizens of California lost more because of him…..

  • PabloKoh

    We should spend $40,000,000,000 per year to fight a War on Governors because our children must be kept safe from the ravenous addiction of the governorship. Do it for the children.

  • B

    Another lesson learned, cheesy actors should never be elected to office
    as past governors shouldn’t either. How many times would you marry
    your EX wife? Idiots.

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