Interviews

Schwarzenegger Speaks

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 16, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: And in the "Factor Followup" segment tonight, as we showed you last

night, the governor of California has become somewhat controversial, with some people actually demonstrating against him. This scene at Santa Monica College was disgraceful, in my opinion. Now, it's because Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to change the way politics is done in the Golden State. The governor has asked the voters to consider three initiatives next November.

First, to make it more difficult for public schoolteachers to get tenure. That is, they can't get fired. Second, that the Democratic-controlled legislature not be allowed to change the boundaries of districts. And third, the California voters approve a spending cap that cannot be exceeded.

Well, you would think the governor had proposed all Californians move

to Bangladesh or someplace for the outcry. Governor Schwarzenegger joins

us now from Sacramento.

The main criticism of you is that this initiative is going to cost a

lot of money in November. And you're doing an end run around the

legislature. That's why they say they're mad at you. Are you buying that?

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, of course not.

First of all, Bill, it's nice again to talk to you. And let me just

tell you that we had the recall election almost two years ago, because our

state was almost going into bankruptcy. And our state legislators have

spent money they don't have. And then they started talking about taxing

the people more money, and they started increasing the car tax for $4

billion.

And this — businesses were moving out of the state. We had the worst

credit rating and the highest worker's compensation costs. It was total

chaos here in this state.

So when I ran for governor, I promised the people that, first of all,

I will represent them, not the special interests and not the unions. And

No. 2, that I will be fighting for them and that I would fix a broken

system. And this is exactly what I'm doing now.

This is a three-step program. The first year, we stop the state from

going into bankruptcy. And also we turn the economy around to bring jobs

back. We created 328,000 new jobs and an additional $6 billion in

revenues.

So our economy is going great. Businesses are coming back. And

businesses are successful again in creating opportunities and jobs. So all

of it is going well. We reformed worker compensation and sent the tax

money back to the people, the $4 billion.

Now the second year is about reform, because we have to get to the

source. Why did our state get into such unbelievable troubles? Why did we

go down with our economy like we did? How did — why did so many people

lose their jobs? Why is our education system deteriorating? And all of

those things have to be addressed.

So I say the second year is about reform. The first year is stop the

bleeding. Second year, let's heal the patient. And then when we have

reformed California, then we can go and rebuild California and build for

the future.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, look, I don't have any problem with the

initiative. I want the folks to vote on the stuff that you want to vote

them on. I mean, it's crazy to have incompetent teachers in the classroom

you can't fire. It's insane to have a budget that just goes crazy because

some people want to buy votes. I mean, all of this looks logical.

But you go to your alma mater, Santa Monica College, a two-year

concern, you do them a favor by showing up to the graduation. And you've

got these people screaming nasty stuff at you, out of control. Do you ever

say who are these people? Or why are they doing this?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, no, I never ask myself who are these people

because we — it was very clear there was a difference between the students

that very much appreciated my speech and they were sitting there and giving

me a standing ovation, and then the 100 people in the background, all the

way up to the right of the bleachers that were organized by the Public

Employees Union.

So this is all union people that are organizing those demonstrations.

And it's not the ordinary people out there. It's not the students that

were protesting. They had great respect and they enjoyed my speech.

And I was very happy to go back to Santa Monica College, which was,

really, kind of the foundation for me to learn in this country, to kind of

re-educate myself and add to my education and get a degree here. And then,

you know, get smart and be able to function here and become part of the

American fabric.

O'REILLY: All right. So you think that because you want to impose

fiscal discipline, spending discipline, which means the unions wouldn't get

as much money, teachers union, nurses union, whatever it may be, you think

that they now have organized campaigns to belittle you and to attack you?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, they're spending millions and millions of

dollars because they feel threatened by all of this. You have to

understand they believe in a status quo.

Is it the only thing that changed during the recall election is the

governor. But the same people that have created the mess and that almost

sent the state into bankruptcy, they're all still there. The same unions

are there. The same special interests are there. The same legislators are

there. They're all still there. So this is why it is a major, major

struggle.

But I promised the people that I will fix the broken system. And so

the reforms that we are talking about is about fixing the system.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, are they winning...

SCHWARZENEGGER: And the key thing — the key thing I just wanted to

mention to you is the $80 million we talked about earlier that it would

cost. It costs, first of all, only $40 million.

And just to show you an example, this year, again, the legislators

have put things in the budget that will get us $1 billion more than last

year.

O'REILLY: Of course, they will always do that. Every Democrat...

SCHWARZENEGGER: I'm just saying, so what is the difference between

the $40 million and the $1 billion that's already in the budget that will

create an additional $1 billion of debt?

O'REILLY: Right.

SCHWARZENEGGER: So it's irresponsible. And we must stop them from

spending...

O'REILLY: But here's the problem. Every Democratic-controlled state

house in the country is going to be spending. That's what they do. They

want the government to run everything, so they spend. That's what they

do. Everybody knows that.

But they may be winning against you, because your approval rating is

dropping as — because they do have the media, the "Los Angeles Times" and

other powerful media behind them. They may be winning the war, Governor.

Do you see it that way?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, first of all, I don't believe that for one

second. Because the fact of the matter is that the people are with me.

The people loved the initiatives. The people want the reform...

O'REILLY: What about the approval rating, though?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, that's OK. Because, you see, this is just one

of those things where they throw all their money, millions of dollars, on

television. And they do their campaign. And they beat up on you, and so

people, some of them, you know, think this is the truth, what they're

telling them. And so your approval ratings go down.

But remember one thing: I did not go into this, to become governor of

California and to fix California, to win a popularity contest. I know, and

every governor would tell you that — and every president and every

politician would tell you that, you know, your popularity goes up and

down.

As soon as you start attacking serious problems and making serious

decisions and strong decisions, sometimes they're not popular decisions.

O'REILLY: OK. Listen, absolutely. I wish we had more politicians

that did that. Now I have more questions for the governor. So stay

there. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'REILLY: Continuing with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

from Sacramento.

How bad is illegal immigration? Illegal, illegal, not legal

immigrants, just illegal immigration, hurting the state of California?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, I think that first of all, it is hurting the

state of California. But then on the other side, you know, there are

people that say that it is helping us. So...

O'REILLY: But what do you say? What do you say?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I myself say that it makes no difference if it is

hurting or helping the state. I think anything you do illegal is not

good. I think that the federal government should be, obviously, much tougher and

have much more border patrols available so that we can secure the borders.

O'REILLY: All right. Now remember when we talked about 18 months

ago, I asked you the same question. And you were just taking the job

over. OK?

And you said, "Look, I'm going to study this issue." This is what you

told me right here on this program. "I'm going to study it. I'm going to

talk to the other governors."

And I said to you, "The only solution, Governor, for this, in your

state, is to call out the National Guard to back up the border patrol. And

to basically seal off San Diego and Imperial counties so that the illegals

will have to go elsewhere. Now, do you agree with my assessment now that

you know, or have you found another way?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, I think that your idea might be good. The only

thing is it won't work. Because, you know, sealing off the borders, this

is not the only place where undocumented immigrants can come from. They

can come from other states, too. They can first enter other states and

they can come through California. So that wouldn't really solve the

problem.

I think what we ought to do is we ought to really all get together and

inspire the federal government to just do a better job and to come up with

a permanent solution. And the permanent solution is to maybe increase the

amount of Mexicans that can come across or aliens that can — immigrants

that can come to America and work.

Because it's obviously — many, many companies and farmers that are

screaming and saying, "Hey, let them come in."

O'REILLY: Listen, we're for that.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Cheaper work and so on.

O'REILLY: But as you said...

SCHWARZENEGGER: I'm for it, too. But we need to do it legally and we

have to have the federal government get control over it.

O'REILLY: Yes, but you know how — the federal government has been

apathetic. It's been apathetic.

SCHWARZENEGGER: It is pitiful, because...

O'REILLY: I know.

SCHWARZENEGGER: ... they're in denial. They act like it doesn't

exist.

O'REILLY: I know. But you said something earlier in the interview.

You got to stop the bleeding first. And by stopping the bleeding in

Imperial and San Diego counties, I think you would improve your state.

But let's go on to one more question. Do you like this job? I just

think politics, what I do, because it's kind of politics, is so nasty now.

It's so awful. You're attacked personally. Your family is attacked. You

are mocked and scorned.

No. 1, do you like it? And No. 2, is it worth it?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, first of all, I think it goes back to the same

question that I got many times when I was in body building. How could you

train five hours a day? How could you lift 50 tons of weight? How could

you do the same sit-ups every day?

And I always said to people, "I don't really care. Because I see very

clearly my vision in front of you. To go after and be the best body

builder in the world."

And it's the same thing with this job here. It doesn't really matter

what it takes to get there. For me, the great joy comes, first of all, to

give something back to the state of California, to give something back to

my country. Because everything that I've gotten is because of California.

It's because of America. This is the greatest place in the world. So this

is my time to give something back.

And for me, the joy of knowing that we can improve the state. We

already have turned the economy around, created all these jobs, created

extra revenues and seen the state functioning again well. And now to go to

the next level, to create the reforms that we can rebuild California.

All of this is fun work and very challenging. Of course it is a

brutal business. Of course people will attack you. That's a given. And

there's nasty articles and so on, but I'm going to grind it out, because

I'm going to go reform California and I'm going to rebuild and build a

great future for our state.

O'REILLY: All right. Well, if we can help you out, Governor, man,

you just come right to us, because we like you and we appreciate you coming on the program.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Thank you, Bill. Thank you, Bill.

O'REILLY: Thank you, sir.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Appreciate it. Thank you.

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