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Schwarzenegger sees Romney as GOP nominee in 2012, illegal immigration as a 'mess'

April 29, 2010 |  8:13 pm

California Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jay Leno on NBC Tonight Show file

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" tonight, the same show where he announced his sudden candidacy for governor years ago, shocking his own wife..

Schwarzenegger seems very comfortable and says several interesting things worth staying up for:

He would never authorize a solution to the illegal immigration problem like the one recently signed into law in Arizona by fellow Republican Gov. Jan Brewer. Illegal immigration is "a mess."

He blames the federal government, specifically Congress:

The last six years since I've been in office, they've been talking about it. And every single time, they say, "Well, this is election year.  We can't get it done."  Well, hello. I mean, every two years is election year.  So that is the history of the United States. (Applause) ...Get it done.  I mean, get it done. That's the important thing. Because it's irresponsible. We have all this stuff. We have the daily crossings. We have the crime. We have the guns that are being transported down to Mexico. 

We have cocaine and other drugs brought up here from Mexico, and we have human trafficking. I mean, it's a huge, huge mess, and the federal government does not....

... get their act together and have immigration reform so that we know who is in this country, how many people are in this country, do the background checks, let people come in legally and work here because we need the workers, and all the people cross legally and do everything in a legal way? 

No.  What do they do?  They look the other way and try kind of like in denial, living in denial like it doesn't happen....So I urged them again, "Go and act. That's why we send you to Washington."  I mean President Bush has talked about it and had really good plans. President Obama has good plans and wants to reform.  Congress is just sitting there.  We are paying them, and they are not acting. I say, "Create the action. Do it. That's why we sent you to Washington."  (Applause)

The Republican governor thinks Mitt Romney will win the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 "by a hair."

Would Schwarzenegger run for president if he was American-born? "Without a doubt." (Applause)

How's he feel about reforming government?

I think reform is very important. I think most people don't understand that part of when you're governor is you want to go and look at the things that don't work in government, and then you want to reform it.

Of course, it's a very daring thing to do because there's a lot of people    both of the parties sometimes are against you because they don't like that because you take power away from the party and give it to the people.

And his own future after leaving office next January? Return to acting? "I really don't know what I'm going to do because I have, you know, there's a lot of time still left."

Maybe, the governor tells Leno, who just turned 60, he'll "do some work with some senior citizens like you."

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: NBC (file)