Schwarzenegger Repeats as California Governor
RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
And now back to election news here in the U.S. For the most part it was not good news for Republicans. A bright spot, though, was here in California. Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger will serve another term as governor. He was re-elected with about 57 percent of the vote. But in celebrating his landslide victory last night, he struck a decidedly nonpartisan note.
NPR's Ina Jaffe has more.
INA JAFFE: Politicians like to talk about never forgetting where they came from, and when Arnold Schwarzenegger declared victory last night in Beverly Hills, the star of Terminator 3 showed he was no different.
Governor ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (Republican, California): I love doing sequels. I love doing sequels, I tell you.
(Soundbite of applause)
Gov. SCHWARZENEGGER: But this without any doubt is my favorite sequel...
JAFFE: And as much of a comeback story as Rocky. Just a year ago, Schwarzenegger was extremely unpopular. He called a special election to force the voters to deal with several ballot initiatives that he thought were essential. The voters disagreed and defeated every one of them.
His political resurrection began soon after with words seldom heard in politics: I'm sorry. I made a mistake. He stopped calling the Democrats who controlled the legislature girly men. He started negotiating with them instead. And this year signed measures to raise the minimum wage, curb greenhouse gas Emissions, and make prescription drugs cheaper for the poor.
Gov. SCHWARZENEGGER: Yes, we have differences but we are not divided. We address the issues but we don't attack each other. We fight over our causes, but in the end we find common ground.
JAFFE: Schwarzenegger's detente with Democratic lawmakers left his Democratic opponent little room to maneuver. State Treasurer Phil Angelides kept trying to tie Schwarzenegger to President Bush - who's very unpopular here - but it just didn't stick.
In Sacramento last night, Angelides told his supporters they were the ones who stood for true democratic values.
Mr. PHIL ANGELIDES (Democratic Candiadate, Californian Gubernatorial Race): Tonight this campaign comes to an end but the struggle for fairness and opportunity, the struggle to give a hand up to the people who make this state great, that struggle goes on each and every day.
JAFFE: As for what Schwarzenegger will do with the next four years, the newly reelected governor didn't say last night. He concentrated more on style than on policy.
Gov. SCHWARZENEGGER: Here in California, we are proving to the nation that there is another way to go and a better path in order to solve problems.
JAFFE: He called that the California way. Matthew Dowd, Schwarzenegger's chief campaign strategist as well as President Bush's two years ago, said politicians elsewhere should take a hint from Schwarzenegger's success.
Mr. MATTHEW DOWD (Gov. Schwarzenegger's Chief Campaign Strategist): It's going to be a mandate for the type of bipartisan leadership consensus building that's been sorely lacking in Washington for the last few years. And I'm hoping Democrats and Republican leaders around the country will look at that and try to adapt a style of consensus and bipartisanship.
JAFFE: Or maybe, as so often happens, they'll just think that's another crazy California idea.
Ina Jaffe, NPR News, Los Angeles.