(Soundbite of California State of the State Introduction)

Unidentified Man: It is my distinct honor and privilege to present to you California's 38th governor, the honorable and courageous Arnold Schwarzenegger.

(Soundbite of applause)


Here in California last night, Governor Schwarzenegger delivered his fourth State of the State speech. He had plenty of time to appreciate the ovation he got from lawmakers in Sacramento as he slowly made his way down the aisle on crutches. Despite his recently broken leg, Schwarzenegger stood without crutches for the entire speech.

As NPR's Ina Jaffe reports, that didn't make him cut his agenda short.

INA JAFFE: Arnold Schwarzenegger acknowledged his agenda was, quote, “ambitious.” He wants to extend health insurance to every Californian, tackle global warming, borrow tens of billions of dollars for new construction projects and reform the way the state draws legislative districts. In one year.

Governor ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (Republican, California): We are not waiting for politics. We are not waiting for problems to get worse. We are not waiting for the federal government. We are not waiting, period. Because the future does not wait.

(Soundbite of applause)

JAFFE: Schwarzenegger echoed the themes of bipartisan cooperation he stressed in his inauguration speech last Friday. He referred only in broad strokes to his plan to extend health insurance to everyone in the state. It's been praised for its scope, though there was also something in it for everyone to hate. But he acknowledged the Democrats have their own proposals and sounded ready to deal.

Governor SCHWARZENEGGER: I've always said you can never have too many ideas. So I welcome all of these ideas, regardless of origin. They all are on the table.

JAFFE: One issue where Schwarzenegger and the Democrats who control the legislature are already in sync, is the urgency of combating global warming.

Governor SCHWARZENEGGER: We hear so much about climate change. One area where we definitely need the climate to change is the national government's attitude about global warming.

(Soundbite of applause)

JAFFE: So Schwarzenegger has ordered California bureaucrats to come up with regulations for reducing the carbon content in automobile fuel by 10 percent. It would be the first program of its kind in the world.

Governor SCHWARZENEGGER: California has taken the leadership in moving the entire country beyond debate and denial, to action.

JAFFE: Apparently the voters like action. In November they reelected Schwarzenegger in a landslide while also approving around $40 billion worth of infrastructure bonds that he campaigned for. Now he wants to borrow another $40 billion for new schools, new dams, and especially new prisons, which are so overcrowded they're in danger of being taken over by the federal court.

Governor SCHWARZENEGGER: We build more prisons or we release criminals. We build more prisons or the courts take the money from education and from healthcare and builds the prisons itself.

JAFFE: The governor's speech got generally positive reviews, at least from the Democrats. Don Perata is the leader of the Senate.

Senator DON PERATA (Democrat, California): I was looking for one thing from the governor, and he gave it to me: a sign that he wants to continue to work in a bipartisan, cooperative way to solve major problems in California.

JAFFE: But Republicans remain cautious about backing Schwarzenegger's big proposals. And Sam Aanestad, a Republican senator from Northern California, says the Republican governor has largely left members of his own party out of his bipartisan coalition. Like with a bill last year - to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Senator SAM AANESTAD (Republican, California): There was not one Republican vote on that greenhouse bill that everybody lauds as a big bipartisan effort. Not one Republican vote in either House, and yet the governor, a Republican, signed it. That's not bipartisanship.

JAFFE: But it's been enough to make Schwarzenegger look like a uniter and a peacemaker, and it's now what the voters expect of him.

Ina Jaffe, NPR News, Sacramento, California.

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