Transcript: Arnold Schwarzenegger Interview

ByABC News
August 30, 2004, 2:46 PM

Oct. 6 -- Arnold Schwarzenegger says that if he is elected governor he will remain fixed on the goals he has set out for California, and he tells ABCNEWS' Peter Jennings that "dirty campaign" allegations about him are not true.

Here is a full transcript:

PETER JENNINGS: What do you like about campaigning?

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, it's a means to the end. That's what I like about it. You set a certain goal. You say this is what I can do for California, and campaigning is the thing that gets you there. It's like what I like about competing. It's the training itself, gets you there, then you can compete and you're in good shape. This is what this is. So this is like a means to an end. This is the part, like filming a movie. It's like get there so you can have the perfect picture and show to the people great entertainment. So it's a means to an end. It's a very important part of the process.

SCHWARZENEGGER: The thing is, when you see the people, this is all about people. When you see the people out there and how hungry they are. How much they want to hear about hope. That you're going to bring changes and all this. People are really angry and disappointed of what has happened in the last few years.

JENNINGS: Are you ever afraid you may let them down?


JENNINGS: Are you ever afraid that you may let them down?

SCHWARZENEGGER: You know, I know myself well enough that when I commit to something then I'm like an Alabama tick. I will stay with it until the end. That is the key thing. I mean, you don't want to let anybody down. This is one thing that I don't want to do. Whatever it is I'm committed to do, like after-school programs then it becomes a crusade for after-school programs and going up and down the state and creating more after-school programs in all the different schools, or if it is nationwide. I remember when I was with the president's council on fitness with President Bush. I traveled. I was the first one to travel to all 50 states. I wanted to make sure I that I reached out to every single state and pound away the message of healthy living in sports and fitness.

JENNINGS: But whether you are an Alabama tick or working with the president's fitness council, there isn't much opposition to what you're doing. And government in California especially, is huge, complex and resistant.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Yes, every job has its challenges. Nothing is easy. If it's easy, everybody would be doing it. It's a big state. It's a powerful state. It's the 6th largest economy in the world. It has the most diversified economy and people here. I mean just alone in Los Angeles they speak 120 some languages. It is really a big, big thing. And I have to say that I can take on the challenge because I would not be doing it by myself. One of the things I have been saying to people all along is that this is not something I want to do by myself or can I do it by myself.

SCHWARZENEGGER: The important thing is that whenever you take on a challenge like this is that you realize that you can't do this by yourself. This is a huge goal. And you need a lot of help. And there are a lot of smart people in this state. And I have surrounded myself with a lot of smart people. It's important to create a great transition team and then to pick a good team that will help you to bring a lot of smart people to make your dreams and to make your wishes and your goals turn into reality.

JENNINGS: Let's talk about some issues. You're pro-abortion?


JENNINGS: You're pro gun control?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I believe in the Second Amendment the right to bear arms but at the same time I believe in the Brady Bill to have background checks and all that and to have control. The key thing is that we enforce the laws, not create new laws.

JENNINGS: And you're pro gay rights?


JENNINGS: You don't talk about that very much on this campaign.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, I don't think this is something that people want to change. People have those rights here and this is not something that needs to change, or it's not on my agenda to change because it's already there. What needs to change is the economy. You know the people are really suffering. They are losing jobs here in this state. And jobs and businesses are moving outside the state. And what I want to do is bring the jobs and the businesses back here, creating a positive business environment so that people want to do business here, and then also to really stimulate the businesses and encourage people with incentives, with tax incentives, to start small businesses again.

JENNINGS: In essence your campaigning as a fiscal conservative and not talking about those, what would be described as more liberal issues. Any particular reason for that?

SCHWARZENEGGER: My campaign is about this is the changes that I want to bring about in California. And the people are concerned today about the economy, about jobs and the pocket book. You know it's the old thing that Ronald Reagan used to say, "Are you better off now than four years ago?" And this is exactly the question that the people ask themselves here in California. Are we better off than we were four years ago, before Davis, five years ago before Davis? And they say no. Everything has gone down. And so this is why they are upset. And this is whey they want to recall Gray Davis. So that's what you have to campaign on. People are also very upset about education.

JENNINGS: Can we talk about money before we talk about education. Do you mind? You brought up taxes.


JENNINGS: You want to repeal the car tax?


JENNINGS: You want to give more money to education?

SCHWARZENEGGER: No. I did not say that. What I want to do, what we want to do is really make education a priority. Which means we make sure that Sacramento stays out of the business of running the schools. Because there is no such thing as a mold for every school in California. There are so many thousands of schools that we have here. Every area, every community, in Modesto here, is a different challenge educationally than we have in south central Los Angeles. We have different challenges here than in East L.A. I provide after school programs. I am in the schools. I'm in the trenches. Those politicians out there, how many times do they go into schools? They go into schools for photo ops. I'm there and I'm working there? (OVERLAP)

JENNINGS: Can you improve education without putting more money in the system?

SCHWARZENEGGER: It's nothing to do that much with money; it has to do with streamlining it and letting the local officials make the decisions, that they know best what they need to do in the local level. Sacramento doesn't know what is best. We have to make sure that we have, for instance, the best teachers in the inner-city schools where there is a lot of problems. We have to make sure that we have equal education. Right now in California we don't have equal education for all students. The inner-city schools have a problem. The other schools, the more affluent schools, they are doing well. The inner-city schools don't have the books many times. They don't have the homework material all the time.

JENNINGS: How do you get new books without money?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, we just have to make sure that we streamline the whole thing.