McCain gets Schwarzenegger's endorsement

January 31, 2008 7:43:56 PM PST
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed Sen. John McCain in the Republican presidential race on Thursday, praising him as an "extraordinary leader" who can reach across the political aisle to get things done.

"I am endorsing Senator McCain as President of the United States," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, (R) California.

It was California's worst kept political secret this week. On Thursday, Governor Schwarzenegger finally endorsed his long time friend who similarly is not afraid to buck the Republican establishment.

In return, he promised to protect the environment -- Schwarzenegger-style.

"Governor Schwarzenegger, I commit to you, that you and I, and all the others that are committed to the globe, not just our home states, to this planet, to hand our children a cleaner planet that the one we have today," said Senator John McCain (R) Arizona.

The coveted endorsement took place inside a Los Angeles solar roofing factory, and will likely help solidify the war hero's status as the GOP's frontrunner, despite continued clashes with other Republicans over global warming policies.

In an exclusive interview with me via satellite after the endorsement, the Arizona senator insists the rest of the party is forgetting its history.

"We're the party of Theodore Roosevelt. Theodore Roosevelt was a great environmentalist. I was called by the Former Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt, 'The Grand Canyon's Best Friend.' It's the heritage of the Republican Party to be great environmentalists," said McCain.

With moderates Schwarzenegger and Rudy Giuliani in McCain's corner, some political watchers think those endorsements may not be that valuable.

"He really wouldn't want to be too closely identified with Schwarzenegger or Giuliani because that would be something like the 'kiss of death' with Conservative voters," said Professor Bruce Cain, Ph.D., from U.C. Berkeley's Washington Center.

The influential conservative blog,, has been angry at Schwarzenegger for quite some time for the taxes called for under his healthcare plan, support of term limits changes and working so well with Democrats.

McCain says Conservatives have to look at the big picture.

"You're going to have to have the party unified because we're going to have a tough race in November," said McCain.

For Governor Schwarzenegger, if McCain is the eventual nominee, that'll give him a national audience to push his ideas on curbing global warming and may be even acceptance of those ideas within the party.