Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has kept his distance from the local media in recent months, but he happily chatted with foreign Hollywood reporters.
In a meeting with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association last week, the governor covered a range of topics, including last year’s allegations that he had groped women, a whirlpool bath discussion with his wife about his run for office, and his views about the presidential candidates, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.
Schwarzenegger said he is friends with Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry but believes fellow Republican President Bush will make a better president.
He said he and Bush are “are not hanging-out pals.”
‘A totally different ballgame’
Referring to the allegations about groping, Schwarzenegger admitted no wrongdoing during the interview last week but said he had learned his lesson. He said it is “a totally different ballgame” now that he represents the state of California.
The world “has changed so much that any kind of a comment you make to a woman now about her clothes or about this or that could be misinterpreted and could make someone uncomfortable and open the door to a lawsuit,” he said.
Schwarzenegger also talked about deciding to run for governor and telling his shocked wife, Maria Shriver, in their whirlpool bath.
“She started shaking and crying,” he said. “It was very tough for her but her mother — Eunice Kennedy — was in favor of me running so she talked to Maria and she finally agreed. If she hadn’t agreed, I wouldn’t have done it because my marriage and my family are the most important things.”
News conferences provide ‘ego satisfaction’
Asked if he misses Hollywood, Schwarzenegger said he gets “ego satisfaction” from the news conferences, appearances and speeches he gives as governor. “I’m in front of cameras all the time, so I don’t miss it at all,” he said.
However, he has been avoiding the Capitol press corps. Last month he refused during a public event to take questions from reporters asking why he vetoed a bill that would have allowed illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses. He also declined again to answer questions at two recent rallies.
Schwarzenegger’s communication director, Rob Stutzman, said the governor didn’t feel the need to discuss his vetoes of hundreds of bills.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is best known for running the Golden Globe awards.