Will Arnold Be Back After '06?


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., celebrated Earth Day by issuing a global warming warning, extolling the virtues of fuel-efficient vehicles and blasting "outrageous" oil prices at the pumps in an exclusive interview on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

"The science is in," the actor-turned-politician claimed. "The facts are there that we have created, man has, a self-inflicted wound that man has created through global warming."

As to the government's role in combating global warming, Schwarzenegger continued, "I think that the federal government is doing things. But I think that they are not aggressive enough. And I think that the whole world is not aggressive enough."

Schwarzenegger encouraged buying fuel-efficient vehicles and pointed to California's policies as an example for the nation, saying, "We want to inspire people that desire cars that are fuel efficient and also drive less, do more carpooling and so on. Because remember, the oil price is all based on supply and demand."

Regarding the issue of rising gas prices at the pump, Schwarzenegger said, "I think that's absolutely outrageous. And believe me, I am all for profit. I love when businesses are booming. But there is a certain point when you have a product that everyone needs and that everyone is relying on because of the situation that you have created. … We've got to protect the people."

Schwarzenegger did not overtly support a windfall profit tax, but did not rule it out entirely, choosing instead to focus first on combating "gouging" at the pumps.

In a wide-ranging interview with ABC News chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos, the governor rebuked some of his fellow Republicans for their stance on immigration reform. Schwarzenegger strongly rejected the idea of building a "wall" along 700 miles of the U.S.-Mexican border, an idea advocated by a number of prominent House Republicans.

"I think that it will be ludicrous to limit yourself to just building a wall," he said. "We're going back to the stone ages here. I mean, we are landing men on the moon and in outer space using all these great things. I think that other technology really can secure the borders.

"If I say, 'Yes, let's build the wall,' what would prevent you from building a tunnel?" he added. "How many tunnels have been built in the last ten years? I mean, we've detected tunnels left and right that people can drive trucks through. And they have air conditioning systems in these tunnels and water flowing and fuel supply and everything. I think that it is crazy to think that a wall alone will do it."

Schwarzenegger embraced "earned citizenship", a position espoused by numerous Senate Republicans, and dismissed any suggestion of amnesty. He also pushed back calls for mass deportation.

"How do you do this logistically?" he asked. "How does that work? You send 12 million people back. It would cost $500 billion. Who's going to pay for that? I mean, this is ludicrous to think this way."

On another federal-state issue, Schwarzenegger also had tough words on protecting California's levees in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

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