Quote/CounterQuote

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An occasional new feature... of notable quotes and reactions or explanations, which we'll call "counterquotes."

Today: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

From this week's New York Times Magazine:

Schwarzenegger reclined deeply in his chair, lighted an eight-inch cigar and declared himself "perfectly fine," despite the fiscal debacle and personal heartsickness all around him. "Someone else might walk out of here every day depressed, but I don't walk out of here depressed," Schwarzenegger said. Whatever happens, "I will sit down in my Jacuzzi tonight," he said. "I'm going to lay back with a stogie."

Democrats have latched on to the comment as proof of Schwarzenegger's detachment from the seriousness of the situation. Assembly Speaker Karen Bass said she thinks it meant that the governor isn't concerned about things like the state issuing IOUs. (In truth, the NYT interview was conducted weeks before the IOU crisis, and the quote seems to be more in response to the state's fiscal woes in general.)

Asked to respond to that criticism yesterday, the Guv said, in part:

As I have said many times, it's a great honor for me to be governor and to serve the people of California and to do this as kind of being a public servant. This is, without any doubt, the biggest responsibility that I've ever had. But it's also the most rewarding thing that I've ever done. And I think that everyone has certain talents and one of the talents that I have is and I think that comes from the sports background, that you can sometimes tune out and through meditation or other forms, so that you can go and have a few hours of relaxation. But at the same time I have to say that I have had a lot of sleepless nights about our budget and about what that means, when we cut certain programs and about the people that are behind those dollar figures when we make those cuts.

[This posting has been modified from its original content to better reflect the specific criticism from Speaker Bass and the context offered by the NYT article. --JM]

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About John Myers

John Myers is senior editor of KQED's new multimedia California Politics & Government Desk.  He has covered California politics for most of the past two decades -- serving previously as Sacramento bureau chief for KQED News and, most recently, as political editor for KXTV News10 (ABC) in Sacramento. He moderated the only gubernatorial debate of 2014, and was named one of the nation's top statehouse reporters by The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @johnmyers.

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