Schwarzenegger Suggests He's Open To Serving In Obama Cabinet

Schwarzenegger endorsed McCain; says nation's issues bigger than partisanship.

July 13, 2008 — -- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, is hinting that he might be open to a position in presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama's cabinet.

"I'm always ready to help in any way I can the United States," Schwarzenegger told George Stephanopoulos exclusively on "This Week" in an interview that aired Sunday.

"Because as you know," Schwarzenegger added, "I've committed myself to be a public servant, because this country has given me everything. And so this is my time now."

While he described the scenario as "hypothetical," Schwarzenegger, who has endorsed presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, admitted he would "take [Obama's] call now and I'd take his call when he's president, anytime."

Obama has previously mentioned Schwarzenegger in discussions about his possible cabinet, saying last December, "There are things I don't agree with him on, but he's taken leadership on a very difficult issue [climate change] and we haven't seen that kind of leadership in Washington."

Schwarzenegger said he is not actively seeking out a cabinet position.

"I don't think about taking on a national role, because there's so many challenges that we have here in California," he explained. "I'm through with the acting and all the things that I have done, and my bodybuilding, even though I love all those things still. But for me now, it's important to give something back and to do my work without getting paid. But just to give something back."

Earlier in the week, Newsweek suggested Schwarzenegger might serve as an energy and environmental adviser to Obama.

"He [Obama] admires California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's [climate-change czar] approach to the environment," the Newsweek article read, "and he's close to the governor's wife, Maria Shriver, and her Kennedy kin."

In response, Schwarzenegger seemed to suggest that he could forsee serving in a Democratic administration.

"No matter who is president, I don't see this as a political thing," he said. "We always have to help, no matter what the administration is."

But when questioned about McCain's ability to make progress on the environment, given that he would most likely face a Democratic Congress, Schwarzenegger praised the presumptive Republican nominee's ability to work in a bipartisan fashion.

"This is why I love this guy, because he has over and over shown that he can reach across the aisle," Schwarzenegger said. "John McCain, every time I talk to him, he's never stuck on just, 'I am a Republican and I am going to force Republican ideas.'"

When pressed further about whether McCain's economic policies would be good for California, Schwarzenegger explained his belief that, "What is being said on those presidential campaigns is one thing, but what people have done in the past is something else."

He went on to applaud McCain's record.

"I think that his record shows that he maybe has his ideas, but he sees, also, the Democrats have their ideas," Schwarzenegger said. "And he's interested in molding his ideas together with the Democratic ideas in order to come up with a compromise."

Schwarzenegger added that McCain should be even bolder in crossing the party line, but that he may face hurdles on the campaign trail.

"You have to be bold," he said. "But it is very, very hard to do that. Because when you go through a campaign where you try first to win the primaries, when you cross the line, it backfires with the Republicans."

"You have to be very careful, in order to get the nomination," he added. "And then after you get the nomination, you can then wander a little bit more to the left, and hopefully he will do that.

"That's the way the political system is set up," Schwarzenegger said. "It's not that I'm saying this is the right thing to do. That's the way you win those primaries. And then you go, when the convention is over and they've all selected the nominee and the person that should run, then you go and … you can also expose that other side of you."

Schwarzenegger then credited Obama for an apparent move to the center.

"Obama, that what he has done consistently, has been very much to the left and he's now more and more going to the right," Schwarzenegger said.

When asked if such a move exposes a candidate to being labeled a flip-flopper, Schwarzenegger said, "Flip-flopping is getting a bad rap, because I think it is great.

"Someone has, for 20 or 30 years, been in the wrong place with his idea and with his ideology and says, 'You know something? I changed my mind. I am now for this,'" Schwarzenegger said. "As long as he's honest or she's honest, I think that is a wonderful thing."

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