Schwarzenegger talks one on one with ABC7

June 3, 2009 6:42:39 PM PDT
California faces the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is in charge of steering the state through this mess and he thinks one of the ways out is to reshape the social network from one of the most generous in the country to one of the stingiest.

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It is something, he says, that conflicts him.

"We have to do everything we can to re-think the way we provide services and deliver it within our means," Schwarzenegger said. "I didn't envision that we would have to make those kinds of cuts."

That could mean nearly a million children would lose insurance coverage, welfare-to-work moms going to school would no longer qualify for assistance and in-home support services would only be allowed for the neediest -- all as a result of a nearly 30 percent drop in tax revenue since the recession started.

Nannette Miranda: "In your joint session address, you said, 'I see the pain in their eyes and hear the fear in their voice,' Do you? Some people think you're a rich guy and so you can't relate."

Schwarzenegger: "Yeah, I see those people. I know who they are. The only thing is there's nothing we can do about it because I cannot promise people something I cannot deliver."

With only a year and a half left in office, his cuts, if they go through, may define the Governor's legacy.

Nannette Miranda: "Do you fear when people look back in your years of office that you would be known as the 'mean guy' who cut great programs, social programs, safety nets?"

Schwarzenegger: "You know you will be the mean guy if you have the money, and say, 'I'm going to cut the programs.' Then you're the mean guy. I think people will look back and say, 'he's gone through some tough periods.'"

Schwarzenegger's wife Maria Shriver is a member of the Kennedy family -- Democrats who famously championed for the poor. When asked what she thought about all the cuts, Schwarzenegger said she understands there is only so much money available.

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