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In the sanctuary of his Capitol office with audio recorder rolling, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger describes Republican legislators as wild bunch and, referring to Latina lawmaker, casually says that black blood mixed with Latino blood equals hot-fiery personality. The Governor is heard in a six-minute recording, obtained by The Times, of a meeting with some members of his inner circle last spring. At the time, Schwarzenegger was struggling to persuade Republican lawmakers to embrace his plan to place billions of dollars in borrowing on November ballot. It is unclear why the session was tap, but Schwarzenegger occasionally records private meetings so that speechwriters, in particular, can keep record of his thoughts and cadence. This audio recording mainly consists of relaxed banter among Schwarzenegger and a few aides, and it offers an unusually candid look at his administration when doors are close. On recording, Schwarzeneggers Democratic chief of staff, Susan Kennedy, say Assembly Republican leader George Plescia of San Diego resembles startle deer. That drew chuckle from the Republican Governor, who moments earlier had referred to Plescias predecessor, Assemblyman Kevin McCarthy, as Bakersfield boy. But Kennedy offers praise for Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, lone Latina Republican in the Legislature. Governor and Kennedy debate her ethnicity, and Schwarzenegger opines that whether she is Cuban or Puerto Rican doesnt matter much. I mean, they are all very hot, Governor say. They have, you know, part of black blood in them and part of Latino blood in them that together make it. He go on to recall former weightlifter and competitor, Cuban-born Sergio Oliva. He was like that, Schwarzenegger say. Garcia and McCarthy called the conversation irrelevant, even funny, when contacted by The Times on Thursday. Plescia had no comment. Garcia says conversation didnt bother her in least. She calls herself an unpolished politician and said Schwarzenegger had shown nothing but respect for her. I love the Governor because he is a straight talker just like I am, Garcia say. Very often I tell him, Look, I am hot-blood Latina. I label myself a hot-blood Latina that is very passionate about issues, and this is kind of inside joke that I have with the Governor. Margita Thompson, spokeswoman for Schwarzenegger, issued this statement: This is a small part of a long conversation that is taken totally out of context. The governor respects every member of the Legislature and holds them in highest regard. It is not uncommon for him to have fun and joke with members while theyre working, especially during very tense negotiations. The Meetings probably take place in Ronald Reagan's Cabinet Room, governors de facto office that adjoin his smaller official quarters. The conference Room faces East toward lush Capitol Park and has long conference tables that serve as giant desk. A sword from the Schwarzeneggers movie Conan Barbarian rests on a nearby table. Participants were Kennedy, who was Cabinet secretary under former Gov.
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