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.

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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.

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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.

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