Transcript: Arnold Schwarzenegger Interview

SCHWARZENEGGER: We know some of the things. But until we get in there…remember one thing, Peter. That easy solutions, fast solutions, are not always the good solutions. You have to take your time. This problem was created over a period of years, and it would take months and months and months to start working on it and really solving some of the problems. The first thing that you have to do is open up the books. Let the people see the waste that's going on in there. And the second thing you have to do is put a spending cap on it. Say stop spending. There's no signing of new programs and bills or anything like this. Let's just stop right now. We only have this much money. Let's redo the current operating deficit. Let's work on that, and then slowly start thinking about the inherited debt, which by the way is been at 12 and 20 billion dollars now. This is the kind of thing we have to work on now to be fiscally responsible.

JENNINGS: Wouldn't it be responsible politically for you to tell people more specifically where you think you are not going to spend, or where you have to have cuts? All you simply say before every audience is 'I am going to open up the books and look'. Surely you know now where you're going to have to spend less, or where you may have to cut. Maybe massive cuts.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Let me tell you something. When you buy a business - you see, you have never run a business. Those politicians have never run a business. I have run many businesses. And I know when to take over business, to look in there and open up the books, and go through and audit it line by line. Before I buy it, I only can guess that there is a certain amount of waste. But when I get in there, then I really can go line by line through the whole thing and find the waste. And then I can make the changes. And then you can create more revenues, can create more profits for the company and all this kinds of things. See the problem is, up there in Sacramento, these guys, a lot of them, are not businessmen. They've never run a business. They've never met payroll like I have. They've never paid for worker's compensation. They have never had to deal with the profit margin or sign a check in the front. They sign a check on the back. That's all they know how to do.

JENNINGS: But you're giving me a campaign speech now. What's the comparison between running a huge, complicated economy like the state of California and running even a modestly large business?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, the important thing is, the same thing that I teach my little son. Don't spend more than you have. It comes down to that. The people out there, they are smart enough. The voters are very, very smart. Never try to pull wool over the voters' eyes because they can figure it out quickly. They know, the voters know, that there are warehouses of details up there. There are warehouses of knowledge and all that stuff. They have the knowledge. But it is the willingness. Are you willing to make the changes? And I can go up to Sacramento, like I just said earlier to the people. I can go up there and make the changes because I don't owe anyone anything. I can go in there and throw everything off a little because I don't have to owe anyone anything. I'm not beholden to anyone. No special interests or anything. I know they will go crazy. So be it.

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