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Governator disses Republicans -- lost in translation?

September 9, 2008 |  3:40 pm

Tell us what you REALLY think

Something about speaking in the native language loosens the lips, which just might explain the freewheeling interview that Arnold Schwarzenegger, California’s Austrian-born governor, gave recently to the German language publication Der Spiegel. So freewheeling, in fact, that the governor’s office is casting doubt on the accuracy of the interview until it can verify the translation.

In a transcript published in English of an interview conducted at least partially in German, Schwarzenegger called the leaders of California’s Republican Party -- his own party -- “so out -there” politically, saying he has no almost no contact with them.

The comments strained his already fractured relationship with GOP lawmakers to the point that Assembly Republicans wore name tags to a meeting with Schwarzenegger about the state budget impasse this afternoon.

On to national politics, Schwarzenegger labeled the delegates at the two presidential conventions as “the most hard-core individuals.” Though he ended up skipping the Republican convention, he said GOP organizers had wanted him to deliver a biographical speech about nominee John McCain so he wouldn’t “go and talk about centrist politics and maybe rub some people the wrong way.”

Offering an example of such a comment, Schwarzenegger said he respects Democratic nominee Barack Obama, whose candidacy is “a giant leap forward” for the country. “I think it’s incredible that a black man has the chance to become president of the United States,” he said. Still, he would never switch to the Democrats “in this life, and definitely not in my next life, or the life after that.”

After all, Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, is “a good-looking woman,” who is “feisty,” Schwarzenegger said, wondering aloud “if there might not be something else discovered about her life that can be used against her.”

“It’s enough if you had someone at some point in your life working at your house that was an illegal immigrant,” Schwarzenegger said, volunteering that he might fall into that category himself: “I’ve never done a check on the people who work in the garden outside to see if they have their documentation. I mean, who does that?”

Things get blown out of proportion, the governor said, especially “the story with Palin and her daughter having a baby.” He added: “It could happen to my daughter; it could happen to anyone’s daughter.”

Aaron McLear, the governor’s spokesman, said he could not vouch for Der Spiegel’s transcript because the interview had been conducted at Schwarznegger’s office in Los Angeles on Friday and the tape was on its way to Sacramento for translation.

“I don’t know that he said the things that were reported,” McLear said. “This is a dangerous game of telephone based on multiple languages. We’ll get to the bottom of it.”

--Michael Rothfeld

Photo: Los Angeles Times