Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has generally declined to discuss his future after he leaves the Capitol, offered some insight into his thinking today when he and other state leaders spoke to Times editors and reporters.
Schwarzenegger, a Republican who has been discussed as a potential opponent next year to U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat, said he is "not running for anything." And that, he explained, is why he felt "more comfortable" earlier this year breaking his campaign promise not to raise taxes in the face of a projected $42-billion budget deficit.
Republican state legislators have had their careers threatened for breaking their anti-tax pledge, but Schwarzenegger called them courageous for doing "what's best for the state."
"Now, I raised taxes, but I'm not running for anything," Schwarzenegger said. "So I'm more comfortable with it because I'm not running for anything, because I know it's the right thing. Even though I promised the people of California I'm not going to raise taxes, at the same time I said I'm not going to sign a pledge, because what if there's an emergency?"
Asked if that meant he had ruled out a race against Boxer, the governor said: "When I say I'm not running for anything, that's exactly what I mean . . . until you change the Constitution."
Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) translated: "So he can run for president."