"What's the public relations disaster versus what's the reality?" Schwarzenegger said. "Two different things altogether. I think that he's doing everything that he can in order to deal with the crisis. But public relations-wise ... the people in America are saying that he hasn't responded quickly enough or he isn't responding strong enough, or he's not in charge of the situation."
Schwarzenegger put blame for the spill squarely on the shoulders of Congress for its lax oversight of the oil industry.
"Why do we have this problem? The problem is because we failed, as a country, to force the oil companies to have a safety device, which European countries have," Schwarzenegger said. "What did we do and tell the oil companies that when you drill, and you have an accident -- and I know you are saying the technology is way ahead now and we won't have those accidents -- but in case? What would you, what's the safety feature? What device do you have? Nothing.
"Because they lobbied, and Congress voted against it. So you can't go to the president or the Bush administration now, and say it's all your fault, when Congress has already screwed up years ago, when they had the chance to go and to make the oil companies have these safety features there. It costs more money, so that's why [the companies] lobbied against it."
The governor said the spill had changed his thinking on offshore drilling.
"This is why we said in California -- made it very clear -- 'Look, if there's a financial crisis like we are right now, I'd like to get this extra money for the oil drilling,'" Schwarzenegger said. "But you know something? What I've seen in the Gulf of Mexico, no thank you.
"I changed my mind, and I say no drilling in California, because I have not seen the oil companies really being responsible when it comes to this drilling."
Schwarzenegger has long taken pride in being an example of the ultimate moderate, and when he took office many lauded it as a new era of consensus-building in a state seized with partisan stalemates. But with the rise of the Tea Party and other elements on the right, is there still room in the party for a Republican moderate like him?
"I don't feel like I'm getting squeezed out, I feel like I need reforms," Schwarzenegger said. "It's not the Republican party, it's not the Democratic party, it's the system that is wrong. ... We need open primaries. People overwhelmingly are supporting open primaries because they want to get things done. ... People just want Democrats and Republicans to work together. ... We also know that both parties are interested in one thing, and this is to do something that is good for the United States.
"And so how do we ... bring those two philosophies together? Rather than looking at the other party as the evil party, or as the enemy, or the other side of the fence. I don't look at them this way.
"First of all, I sleep with a Democrat every night, so I cannot look at it this way. ... What we want to do is create a system where you get rewarded for compromise rather than get punished for compromise, and where you're [not] rewarded for getting stuck in your ideological corners."
Moran asked Schwarzenegger about a controversial comment he made regarding Arizona's new immigration laws. At a commencement speech in May, the governor joked that if he were to give a commencement speech in Arizona, he might be deported for his accent.