SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Ever the entertainer, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has posted a Twitter video related to the state's budget crisis in which he picks up an oversized knife and jokes about autographing state vehicles that will be auctioned to raise cash.
California is trying to close a $26 billion deficit through deep cuts to schools, universities and social programs, while furloughing state workers three days a month.
In the video, which was posted Tuesday, the Republican governor is sitting at his desk in the Capitol admiring a 2-foot-long folding knife before looking up to thank followers for their budget-balancing ideas.
He tells followers he likes one suggestion to autograph a fleet of state-owned vehicles being put up for auction on Craigslist and eBay.
"You come up with the great ideas. Why not just sign the cars since you're a celebrity governor? Sign the cars and sell it for more money," the governor says. "That's exactly what we're going to do."
The video had received more than 33,000 hits by Wednesday afternoon.
The governor's spokesman, Aaron McLear, said the knife was a gift from a personal friend and arrived Tuesday.
He said the governor is serious about signing the auctioned vehicles.
The auction, planned for late August, was prompted by tips from state employees and put into motion through an executive order. Officials estimate that selling 15 percent of California's 40,000 government vehicles could raise about $24 million.
On Wednesday, Schwarzenegger defended the Twitter video when asked by a reporter whether it was appropriate at a time when the state is making deep cuts that are affecting the lives of the poor, elderly, children, college students and government employees.
Schwarzenegger said he shot the Web clip because he does not want to be seen as "El Stiffo," suggesting previous governors were less colorful than he is.
The governor said he doesn't enjoy making budget cuts but does need to keep his sense of humor.
"Not that I have fun with making the cuts -- they sadden me -- but ... that doesn't mean that you cannot wave a knife around, or to wave your sword around, to get the message across that certain cuts have to be made because it's budget time," Schwarzenegger said during the news conference.
Under a compromise plan he reached earlier this week with legislative leaders, the state would cut $6 billion from K-12 schools and community colleges, as well as $3 billion from state universities.
Prisons, health care and welfare programs also would be cut. The revised budget plan is scheduled to be considered Thursday in the Legislature.
McLear said the governor made the clip because he wants to respond to innovative ideas, wherever they originate.