Gov. Schwarzenegger headlines roast of Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg


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Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) was the guest of honor -- make that the target -- at the 28th annual California Roast, but he wasn’t the only politician to come under fire in a raucous, ribald evening in Sacramento. Onstage were Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, his chief of staff, Susan Kennedy, Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, Senate GOP Leader Dennis Hollingsworth (R-Murrieta), Assembly Speaker John Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and master of ceremonies Sheila Kuehl, a former state senator from Santa Monica. Kennedy, Pérez and Kuehl are gay or lesbian, and many of the put-downs were aimed their way.

The tart-tongued Kuehl introduced Schwarzenegger by reciting a litany of his failed ballot initiatives, and the governor responded with his fond memories of former Senate Leader John Burton: “John and I dated a lot of women, just like Sheila and Susan.”


It went downhill from there.

There were jokes from the cigar-smoking Kennedy about her reputation for “smoking, drinking and chasing women,” and her take on budget negotiations between Steinberg and Schwarzenegger: “It’s like Abbot and Costello doing ‘Who’s on First?’ in German with Yiddish subtitles.” And there were other jokes that, frankly, can’t be quoted in a family-friendly blog.

Hollingsworth said that he didn’t believe it when heard that Pérez, a former labor leader, was gay.

“Next, you’ll be telling me that there are gay Republicans from Bakersfield,” he said, referencing state Sen. Roy Ashburn’s recent public revelation that he is gay.

-- John Howard in Sacramento