RUSH: We have now with us Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger from California. He just touched down in Fresno. Governor, thanks for making time for us today. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Absolutely. How are you today Rush? RUSH: Never better, sir. It’s nice to have you. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Terrific. RUSH: It’s nice to speak with you. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: It’s nice to talk to you. The last time I think I saw you was at a fund-raiser for cancer research. RUSH: Yeah, prostate cancer research. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: You were seated next to my wife. RUSH: Right, it was Michael Milken’s thing. It was at the Bellagio. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: That’s right, exactly, where they raised millions of dollars for cancer research. It was just a terrific event. RUSH: Played a lot of golf that weekend, too, out at Shadow Creek. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Right. So if we don’t meet at the Smoke-Out, we meet at the cancer research fund-raiser so here we are, and here we are talking today. First of all I want to just say thank you for covering me yesterday after, you know, what I said about you. You explained exactly what I meant. I really appreciate that. RUSH: You mean the ‘irrelevant’ comment? GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Exactly. RUSH: Well, I know you, and I knew… See, I think you just probably get a little flustered. Every time you go on these shows they throw my name up at you, and my interpretation was that you’re governing California. I don’t live there, and you’re going to do what you’re going to do regardless what anybody says. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, I think that the point also is when you have a radio show or a TV show or you write papers, and you write your editorials and all this stuff, your objectives are different than mine. You know, I have to, ultimately, make decisions that are based on bringing people together, bringing Democrats and Republicans together, and to really working for the people and trying to resolve issues. If it is issues that have to do with health care or environment, if it is creating more jobs, getting more businesses to California, all of those things, I have to make tough decisions every day — or prison reform, and so I’m building more prisons. So all of those things. So what you guys are talking about and the ideology and philosophy and, you know, the right versus the left and all of those things, I cannot deal with that as much because to me what is important is that I bring both of the parties together and make things work to serve the people. This is what I do, and this is why I pay very little attention if someone criticizes me or calls me, you know, that I’m turning left and that I’m selling out or whatever. I have to stay focused on results. RUSH: Well, we’re doing the same thing. I react the same way to criticism as you do. I ignore it because there’s too much of it. It’s part of the territory. I’m all for bringing people together but not compromising principles in the process — and, you know, one of the reasons they keep throwing my name at you is because I have said that your compromise looks more like agreeing with liberals than maintaining your natural conservative beliefs. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, I mean, you know, like I said: this is your interpretation, but the fact of the matter is that we are moving as a state forward exactly what my plan is. You know, when we last year — you know, you maybe disagree with that but — we increased the minimum wage by $1.25 and I think the people of California, the hard-working people of California, deserved that because for years they didn’t have a minimum wage increase. So we did it in a way that it is doable for businesses but we also did it in a way where we did not go as far as the Democrats wanted to go where they asked for a $2.50 increase and to have an automatic escalator in there and so on. So we didn’t go there. So we compromised, and did something that I felt very comfortable with and thought that it was important. But the same thing again is with health care. You know, some people want to go and have health care and reform the system, so we have a government-run health care system. Well, I disagree with that. I think that the private sector can take care of it, that we just need to create some guidelines of what it ought to be so that everyone is ensured, that insurance companies cover everyone, and to create a pool — a risk pool, a risk pool for insurance companies and to make it a partnership within the private sector, hospitals, doctors, the state and the federal government. And I was very happy that the federal government agreed to come in with $3.7 billion and help us with our health care reform. So those are the bottom lines. So it’s not ‘selling out.’ It is just doing the work for the people because 72% of the people in the last poll said that our health care system is broken and yes, we need to fix it, and 82% of the people said that it needs to be fixed in the way where there’s a shared responsibility, where everyone comes in and works. So those, I don’t see them as selling out but I can understand from where you’re coming from, where you look at it just the ideology or maybe in just a more conservative way. We are a state that is in a majority of Democrats, and I have always said during the election process — during the I was running for governor three years ago — I said, ‘When I become governor I will be the people’s governor and I will represent everybody, Democrats and Republicans.’ RUSH: Well, look I’m not looking at it ideologically. You and I both want the same things: we want what’s best for people. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Right. RUSH: But ideology is a fundamental argument in that. I believe conservatism is the best way to provide the most opportunity and success for the vast majority of people. Government simply can’t do it. You mentioned the minimum wage and compromising. You compromised on the price, but you still accepted the premise of liberalism that minimum wage is a somehow going to improve people’s lot in life, and it doesn’t. You mentioned health care. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Let me just say to you something, that I have had many, many — I would say hundreds of — hard-working people in California come up to me and say it did improve their life. So, I mean, I think it is wrong to say that it didn’t improve people’s lives. I think those things do improve people’s lives. If you create health care for people, it does improve people’s lives. If you go and create accountability in education, it does improve education. So I think I’m a results-oriented person, and I personally believed 100% that we need to raise the minimum wage that the people deserve it. So it was not like selling out or going the other way. It is something that I believe in, but, I stuck to my principles of not doing it to chase the businesses out of the state because I’m very proud of the fact that since I came into office — RUSH: Have you reversed that trend of businesses and people leaving California? GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Yes. RUSH: They were leaving that state in droves, and that was one of your campaign promises, or premises, after the Gray Davis recall, that there were way too many businesses fleeing the state. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Rush, I just give you an example. I give you an example. RUSH: High taxation, a number of things, regulation forcing people out. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: (Chuckles.) I give you an example that made me, actually, very happy. The other day we were at an event where a drywalling company — a manufacturing company that produces drywalls — has moved their operation to California, and it is the biggest one in the world, and they came here because they said, ‘This is a great business environment.’ They can do business here. They can be part of the great growth and the success of California, and said they’re moving their workers and creating this huge business right here in California. That’s just one out of many, many examples where businesses are feeling now, again very, very happy about coming to California. That doesn’t mean that other businesses don’t think about going to another state, but I would say a huge amount of businesses are coming back here because we are creating a much better business atmosphere — and remember one thing, and I know this is something that you love, and that is giving money back to our private sector, to people. When we reformed workers’ compensation, that has created now an additional increase in money for the private sector of $13 billion a year. Now, think about how much money this is. Now, when we go into health care reform, as you know right now — and this is the important thing for the conservatives to think about, that right now — everyone that is insured here in California, they are paying for the uninsured. That means there’s a hidden tax there, a huge hidden tax — so much that the private sector businesses in California are paying $14.billion right now in the hidden tax. What I want to do is get rid of that hidden tax; reduce the cost of health care through prevention and through insuring everyone and make sure that everyone carries insurance and that everyone is insured by the insurance companies. So this is the kinds of things that we are doing. RUSH: Now, wait a second. You want to extend health care coverage to every child even the children of illegal aliens, immigrants in the country, and you want to raise taxes to do this, and you call them ‘loans.’ GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, Rush, I just said that we’re reducing the hidden tax of $14.7 billion. We want to get rid of this hidden tax that is being made right now. RUSH: But a tax is a tax. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Billions — every single — RUSH: But if you replace the hidden tax with visible tax, it’s still a tax. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: No. Hold on a second. Every single person that is insured right now, is paying extra money. If it’s the premiums, out-of-pocket expenses, copays, all of those things is more money because of the hidden tax because every time you get insurance, you pay for those that are uninsured — and that is unfair to those people that are insured. So what we want to do is insure everybody, and make it mandatory that each person has to carry insurance so we get rid of that hidden tax that is existing right now, and this is why when we talk about the 4% increase, it’s not really a tax. It is a fee, because actually in the end those companies and individuals will profit by the lowering of our health care costs and getting rid of the hidden tax. So it’s a wash, or it actually they come out much more ahead than they are now. RUSH: Governor, you were so good during your first campaign, and you had the whole country inspired. You were so good at the 2004 Republican Convention, and you had people in California particularly, inspired and motivated. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, thank you.
RUSH: But they see a lot — (Laughing.) GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: (Laughing.) Thank you. RUSH: But they see a lot of about-faces. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: What? RUSH: For example, in 2005, you vetoed a Democrat bill that would have expanded the state’s health care coverage to children because the $300 million price tag was too high. Now you’ve turned around and your health care plan is being applauded by the state’s Democrats. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: No. You’re absolutely wrong, Rush. Because I vetoed the bill to cover every child because they did not set up a revenue stream that shows where the money will come from. We are a state that is still paying off our debt. Anyone that sends me a bill that costs more money, I will veto it because it is not right until we pay off our debt. This is why I want to have a comprehensive health care reform where we know where the money comes from, that we create a pool of $12 billion where the state and the federal government comes in and helps us with that, and it is a shared responsibility, and that will cover everyone. Now, let me go back to your question that you had earlier about undocumented immigrants. Undocumented immigrants right now get health care and get coverage. They can go to any emergency in the United States. RUSH: I know. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Any emergency room in California, because that’s the federal law. RUSH: Right, and many of them in Southern California — GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Rush — RUSH: — closed down because they’re not being paid for the visits by these people. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: But listen, Rush. It is not a question should we cover them or not. They are covered. It is illegal to turn anyone away from any emergency room. RUSH: That’s for emergency health care, though, governor. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: — and therefore in my health care reform, we are debating not, ‘Should they be covered or not?’ but it is a debate, ‘How it can be done cheaper and more cost effectively?’ That’s what we are going to work out. It’s one-fifth of the cost that we are paying right now, which is a great benefit to the taxpayer. RUSH: But emergency room coverage is emergency coverage. What you are proposing is universal, all over the place all the time. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: You know when you don’t go to an emergency room, do you know that 90% of the time there’s no emergency? If they would have a health clinic or some kind of a medical clinic they can go get those things done for $50 rather than paying a thousand dollars — what they’re doing right now — RUSH: Well, they’re not paying the thousand. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: — in the emergency rooms, and it crowds up the emergency rooms, and therefore people has to wait five to seven hours. So, I mean, believe me: we are moving forward. The important thing you need to know is, that 91% of the votes from Republicans in the last election, which was just two months or three months ago: 91%. I won with a 17% lead over my opponent. So I have a lot of Republicans on my side, and they understand that I want to get the job done rather than fighting like they do in Washington over nothing — RUSH: Well, I don’t — GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: — fighting over who is right and who is wrong and nothing gets done. Imagine that for years now we are debating over immigration reform, and they can’t get their act together. That is embarrassing. I think that those guys should sit down and be serious about it, forget a little bit about their ideology and get things done and represent the people of California and the people of America. I think that’s what the bottom line is. RUSH: The problem with that is the liberals and the Democrats are not going to punt their ideology because it defines them, and so when we end up agreeing with them just to get compromise, even if the numbers they want are not as much as they wanted, we are still compromising our ideology, they are not — and this is what people are upset about. It’s happening in Washington. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Rush? Rush? RUSH: It’s happening in California. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: I happen to disagree with that, Rush, because I think that they should not get stuck — RUSH: You know liberals, governor. You’ve been around them your whole career! You know who they are. You know that they don’t waive — GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: I understand it, but I’m just saying that in the end, we have to represent the people and do the job for the people, and that sometimes takes compromise and there’s nothing wrong with that, and you still can speak to your ideology, and stay with that, but you still have to compromise in order to get things done, and that’s their job in Washington — to get things done and to represent the people and to do a great job and to fix things, to fix health care, to fix immigration reform — not to argue year after year after year and to make promises that they can’t keep. So anyway, so you and I, we’re going to have a good time again on our next smoke out that we’re going to have? RUSH: (Laughing.) GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: We’ll smoke a stogie together and we’ll be talking about this from here to eternity. The key thing is that people should know that you and I, we don’t have a fight. We don’t argue over those things. We just have different opinions, and, you know, and I am enjoying that because I think the Republican Party has a big tent. RUSH: Governor, look, I’ve always liked you, and I’ve always admired you. The first time I met you at that Planet Hollywood opening in Dallas, I had a great time. We’ve all got so much hope for you. Everybody wants you to be who you are. I know there are a lot of Republicans — and it was in the paper today — hoping you wake up one day and become a conservative again. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Right, right. (Laughing.) RUSH: I’m sure you saw that. Look it, I appreciate your calling. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Thank you! RUSH: I appreciated the time and I’ll see you at the Grand Havana Club next time. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: You got it! RUSH: All right. Take care. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Bye-bye. Thank you. RUSH: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.