Wednesday, February 28, 2007

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: "How come Democrats and Republicans out here don't schmooze with each other?"

Yesterday Schwarzenegger spoke to the National Press Club in Washington, DC. He spoke to encourage Republicans and Democrats to work with each other rather than against each other. He touted California's recent bipartisan efforts on environmental and infrastructure issues. Here is an excerpt from the Sac Bee Story :

Schwarzenegger, citing his failed 2005 campaign to pass several Republican-leaning ballot initiatives, told press club members that he does not think he's perfect. "I contributed to the polarization," he said.

But he took a chiding tone with Washington lawmakers.

"All of this energy is being spent on bitterness, all of this energy is being spent on maneuvering," he said. "Imagine if that same energy were put into working together to build a consensus."

The key to his own success, he said, was his focus on building relationships. "In the courtyard of the state Capitol, I have a politically incorrect smoking tent," he said. "People come in, Democrats and Republicans, and they take off their jackets and they take off their ties, they smoke a stogie and they schmooze."

He had advice for everyone: Democrats should stop "running down" the president. Republicans, he said, should stop questioning the motives of Democrats who oppose the war in Iraq.

"To the president," he said, "I say get yourself a smoking tent."

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