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Gov.'s Candid Moments Caught on Audiotape

Schwarzenegger's banter with aides offers glimpse of bull session behind closed doors.

September 08, 2006|Robert Salladay | Times Staff Writer

The governor goes on to describe the negotiating session:

"And then all of a sudden she comes in out of nowhere. She says, 'Yeah, but you are f------ the governor. Everything that means something to us, you're not including."

Kennedy replies: "I couldn't help it. I could not stay quiet."

Schwarzenegger: "I stayed quiet."

Kennedy then says that McCarthy, who is leaving the Assembly this year, ignored the governor's specific requests on transportation funding.

"He doesn't care. There's no price," Kennedy says. "Anyway, don't get me started again. I am glad he's running for Congress."

McCarthy, who in June won the GOP primary for the 22nd Congressional District, said Thursday that the conversation was typical of the honest back-and-forth that was occurring at the time.

"I thought it was funny," McCarthy said when told of the exchange about him between Schwarzenegger and Kennedy. "What is on that tape is no different than what we said to one another" during private negotiations, he said.

On the recording, someone then asks about Plescia, who had been elected Assembly Republican leader but ceded negotiations on the infrastructure bonds to McCarthy. Kennedy dismisses him.

"Plescia looks like the deer that keeps getting caught in my yard when I leave the gate open," said Kennedy, who owns a home in Marin County.

Kennedy then apparently makes a face, and the governor laughs.

"Great look. I love it," Schwarzenegger says. "There was the Academy Award right there."

Kennedy says Plescia has "big eyes that just kinda like stare like a Stepford wife. He's a good-looking guy. Happy. Perky."

Schwarzenegger then turns to analyzing whether Plescia can "control that wild bunch upstairs" -- the Assembly's Republicans -- "because that is like a very, uh, unique, uh, unruly bunch of guys and girls."

They move on to Garcia, a Cathedral City lawmaker who is the daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants. On her website, Garcia is described as "born on the Lower East Side of New York to teen parents."

"Bonnie Garcia is great," Kennedy says on the recording. "She's a ball-buster. She's great. Is she Puerto Rican?"

"She seems to me like Cuban," Schwarzenegger says.

"She's not Mexican," Kennedy replies.

"No," the governor agrees.

"But she said something," Kennedy says, "and I thought, I thought she was Puerto Rican."

Then Schwarzenegger offers a theory.

"She maybe is Puerto Rican or the same thing as Cuban. I mean, they are all very hot. They have the, you know, part of the black blood in them and part of the Latino blood in them that together makes it."

Schwarzenegger then drifts off into a conversation about Oliva, who once was one of Schwarzenegger's great rivals.

As Schwarzenegger waxes nostalgic about Oliva, Kennedy abruptly says in the background: "I'm leaving."

Conversation trails off, and the recording ends.

robert.salladay@latimes.com

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