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Schwarzenegger makes media rounds in D.C.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, fresh from his victory in the passage of Proposition 14, spent a day last week hopping from one Washington, D.C., media outlet to another touting his success and his final year’s agenda.

Schwarzenegger had pushed the open primary election system ordained in the ballot measure. It will allow all candidates in a primary to appear on a single ballot and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, to run against each other in the general election. It does not apply to presidential contests.

The governor played coy Thursday about whether he would endorse GOP standard-bearer Meg Whitman to succeed him. He told the Washington Post that the person he supports “most likely will be Republican, but not necessarily.”

In an interview with National Public Radio, Schwarzenegger spoke of the importance of the new primary system, which, like the recall election that vaulted him into the governorship, lumps all candidates into one electoral pool.

“That’s how I got elected, because I appealed to Democrats and Republicans, independents ... everybody,” Schwarzenegger said. “If there would have been no recall election, I wouldn’t have been able to win, because I would not have been able to win a Republican primary because I’m too much in the center and I’m not that far to the right.”

He smoked a cigar with Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic. Asked about keeping fit while aging, Schwarzenegger replied: “It sucks.”

Other highlights:

On the BP oil spill and President Obama’s response, he told Terry Moran of ABC News in a piece filmed earlier: “What’s the public relations disaster versus what’s the reality? Two different things altogether. I think that he’s doing everything that he can in order to deal with the crisis. But public relations-wise.... The people in America are saying that he hasn’t responded quickly enough or he isn’t responding strong enough, or he’s not in charge of the situation.”

On what’s next for him, he told Moran: “I don’t allow myself, even if I sometimes wander off, I come right back to this year. I don’t allow myself to have … meetings, and nothing about next year or about my future because this time, right now it’s about now and getting things done, serving California. That’s my job.”

And on Arizona’s new law cracking down on illegal immigrants, he said: “I made it very clear that we in California have no use for this kind of a law. I have also made it very clear for years already that you need to have more Border Patrol. We need to secure our borders. Our borders are not secure. That is the bottom line.”

shane.goldmacher@latimes.com


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