Arnold Schwarzenegger, months removed from office and with his popularity bruised by revelations of a love child with his housekeeper, apparently hasn’t lost his sense of humor.
When he was mistaken for Bill Clinton on a recent bike ride through Santa Monica, he replied to the confused passerby: “It’s one of those guys who has had a sex scandal.”
The remark came as the former California governor pedaled through red lights and coasted the wrong way up one-way streets with Michael Lewis, author of the bestseller “The Big Short,” during a mobile interview. The result appears in Lewis’ new Vanity Fair piece, which labels California the epicenter of coming financial and pension troubles.
In the interview, Schwarzenegger also offered a few insights into governorship, including his famed campaign announcement on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”
“I just thought, This will freak everyone out,” Schwarzenegger said. “It’ll be so funny. I’ll announce that I am running….And two months later I was governor. What the [expletive] is that?”
As governor, Schwarzenegger said, he was stymied by lawmakers frozen in fear of special interests. “People would say to me, ‘Yes, this is the best idea! I would love to vote for it! But if I vote for it some interest group is going to be angry with me, so I won’t do it,’” he told Lewis.
“I couldn’t believe people could actually say that. You have soldiers dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they didn’t want to risk their political lives by doing the right thing,” he said.
Overall, though, Schwarzenegger said he enjoyed being California’s chief executive. “You have to realize the thing was so much fun,” he said. “We had a great time!”
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-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento
Photo: Arnold Schwarzenegger. Credit: Eamonn McCormack / Getty Images