Schwarzenegger says Republicans should lay off gays
December 21 2004 12:00 AM ET
California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger suggested in a German newspaper interview published Saturday that the Republican Party should move "a little to the left," a shift that he said would allow it to pick up new voters.
Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has taken an unorthodox approach since winning office last year--standing by a promise to toe a conservative line on fiscal matters while veering left on social issues such as gay rights and the environment.
In an interview with Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily, Schwarzenegger said that "the Republican Party currently covers only the spectrum from the right wing to the middle, and the Democratic Party covers the spectrum from the left to the middle. I would like the Republican Party to cross this line, move a little further left and place more weight on the center. This would immediately give the party 5% more votes without it losing anything elsewhere."
Schwarzenegger was guarded on suggestions that he harbors presidential ambitions, saying only that a debate on whether the U.S. Constitution should be amended to allow foreign-born citizens to run for president was "overdue." Schwarzenegger became an American citizen in 1983, 15 years after he emigrated from Austria. He has said he'd consider running for president if such an amendment passed but also has taken pains to say it shouldn't be created specifically for him.
"I would like people to remember me as someone who raised standards, wherever I got involved," he was quoted as saying. "I brought bodybuilding from nothing, I made the action film a genre, and the same goes for politics--I want to do things that no one believed possible. I would like to bring people together as governor."