"I didn't see it," said the California Republican. "But I heard about it and I know because of conversations I had with the president about the Special Olympics, and I'm an international coach of the Special Olympics, I know where his heart is at. He loves the Special Olympics and he would do everything he can to help the Special Olympics. And every one of us sometimes makes a mistake by something comes out of your mouth and you say 'Oops I wish I wouldn't have said that.' I've had many of those."
Tim Shriver, who is the brother of Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria Shriver, said there is someone who might be able to help the president with his bowling: A Special Olympian in the Detroit area who has bowled three perfect games.
The president called even before the show had aired, knowing that his words could open a controversy on a whole new front.
The White House released a statement shortly after the gaffe Thursday night to clarify the president's comments and said Obama did not mean to offend.
"The president made an off-hand remark making fun of his own bowling that was in no way intended to disparage the Special Olympics. He thinks the Special Olympics is a wonderful program that gives an opportunity for people with disabilities from around the world," said White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton.
The Special Olympics wasn't the only controversy to dog Obama on his West Coast trip.
Despite being 3,000 miles away from the center of the AIG controversy, the president could not escape the heat coming from the furor over fat bonuses paid to executives of the bailed-out insurance giant.
"Stunned. Stunned is the word," said the president on his two-day campaign-style swing through California.
"The immediate bonuses that went to AIG are a problem, but the larger problem is we got to get back to an attitude where people know enough is enough," Obama said. "And people have a sense of responsibility and they understand their actions are going to have an impact on everybody."
He also touted his $3.6 trillion budget and advised Congress to find a permanent fix so that such scandals are avoidable in the future.
"I understand Congress' frustrations, and they're responding to, I think, everybody's anger. But I think that the best way to handle this is to make sure that you've closed the door before the horse gets out of the barn. And what happened here was the money has already gone out and people are scrambling to try to find ways to get back at them," he said.
Before his Special Olympics crack, the president was criticized for being in California for an entertainment show and not minding the store.
"He flies off to Los Angeles to be on the 'Jay Leno' show. My suggestion is he come back, since he's taken the full responsibility" for the AIG controversy, "to get his people together and say, 'All right, I want to know exactly what happened and who did what when and how are we going to prevent this from ever happening the future,'" said Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.
Others said Obama's moves are a distraction from the bigger issues facing the country.