SACRAMENTO — California First Lady Maria Shriver said Friday that she would prefer Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger not run for president.
"I want him back home, actually," Shriver said on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" when asked about the possibility of Schwarzenegger's running for the top office if the U.S. Constitution allowed it.
Shriver and Schwarzenegger will celebrate their 19th wedding anniversary April 26. The governor spends three or four days a week in Sacramento, where his campaign rents a suite at the Hyatt Hotel, while Shriver and their four children live in Brentwood.
In the interview with Winfrey, one of her closest friends, Shriver repeated several times that she would like Schwarzenegger to return home.
"I think while I was always raised to believe that public service is the most noble calling, it's all-encompassing," Shriver said. "And it's tough if you have young children. And it's a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week job. I want him home."
Shriver's comments raised questions about whether she was encouraging her husband not to seek reelection in 2006. The Republican governor already has opened an account to raise money for a reelection campaign, but he does not have to formally decide for several months.
Margita Thompson, a spokeswoman for the governor, said Schwarzenegger was focused on his 2005 agenda, which may include a special election. She said he makes his family a priority, even occasionally performing carpool duties in Los Angeles, but he has not decided about reelection.
On "Oprah," Shriver said Schwarzenegger was obsessed with the laundry and making sure clothes and shoes are put away. She said he has called from the Capitol to make sure the children had finished their laundry, and that he would hide clothes or throw them in the fireplace if they were not put away when he returned.
Shriver appeared on the show with her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, in what was billed as their first TV interview together.
Shriver and Schwarzenegger appeared on "Oprah" before the 2003 recall, giving his campaign a boost. Winfrey appeared last December as a keynote speaker at a 10,000-person conference on women organized by Shriver.
Shriver, the niece of former President Kennedy, is considered a powerful force in Sacramento, frequently advising her husband on public policy and politics.
Even before Schwarzenegger was elected, Shriver said, she was reluctant to see him enter politics. She had warned him about the exhausting, vicious and time-consuming nature of political life. He ran anyway.
"He'd always been supportive with me," Shriver said in a previous "Oprah" interview. "He'd always said, 'Follow your dreams. Do what you need to do.' I wanted to give him back what he had given me. So in the end I said, 'Go with your heart, go with your passion.' "
But when Winfrey asked Friday, "You want him home?" Shriver responded: "I want him back."