Gov. Schwarzenegger admits defeat

May 20, 2009 6:45:48 PM PDT
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is dealing with a painful reality check. The people have spoken, soundly rejecting his ballot measures at the polls on Tuesday. So once again, the governor is licking his special election wounds. He was in Washington for the vote.

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Maybe it was best for Gov. Schwarzenegger to be away from California when the election results came in. Voters gave him and other state leaders an embarrassing and stinging loss, rejecting five of the six budget measures.

"I appreciate that, that when you hear that from the people because then it gives us a chance to go and adjust and say 'OK, we went the wrong direction. Now let's go in the right direction. Let's go do what the people want,'" said Schwarzenegger.

But back in February when the budget stalemate seemed never-ending, leaders thought the final budget agreement was the right direction. The temporary taxes, borrowing, and shifting of funds were the only way to get the governor, Republicans and Democrats to sign off on closing a $42 billion deficit. Regardless, they had to ask voters for their approval as the recession was deepening and unemployment was rising.

Even the threat of a second round of cuts to education and public safety couldn't convince voters to support the budget-fixing ballot measures.

"I think they feel the legislature did not feel the pain that the public feels. The legislature just didn't seem to be reacting to the kind of hard times that people are seeing," said political analyst Tony Quinn.

The governor says he absolutely heard the voters' disgust.

"We have to go and sell off our motorcycles, our boats, our cars, our second cars, and shrink and have yard sales, garage sales, in order to make ends meet. You do the same thing with government," said Schwarzenegger.

Now the governor, faced with a new $21 billion deficit, has no choice but to follow the people's will.

"We will go and represent their wish that we're going to make those cuts and balance the budget just through those cuts," said Schwarzenegger.

Schwarzenegger is 0 and 2 when it comes to special elections. Now, he's thinking they're not good ideas.

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