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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger thinks Sen. Dianne Feinstein will run for governor if John McCain wins the presidency. But if Feinstein stays in Washington, Schwarzenegger said Attorney General Jerry Brown "has the best shot of becoming governor of the great state."

The Republican governor played prognosticator for the 2010 gubernatorial elections during a question-and-answer session at the American Magazine Conference in San Francisco. He was asked whom he thought would win the Democratic nomination for governor in 2010, and he didn't once mention San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom even though he was in Newsom's city.

Though Schwarzenegger was asked whom he thought would win the Democratic nomination for governor, it seemed for a moment that he answered whom he thought would win the entire race. And the fact that he said Brown, a Democrat, was a shock considering that he's a Republican governor, albeit not as great a shock as it would have been if he weren't a self-declared "post-partisan" governor.

The governor's office disputes whether he actually said he thought Brown was best positioned to become governor and insists he was only answering the question about the Democratic nominee.

But Schwarzenegger did flat out say "Jerry Brown I think has the best shot of becoming governor of the great state." He then mentioned Republican Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner in the next breath, which suggests that he was handicapping the overall race, not just the Democratic contest.

Here's the full transcript of what Schwarzenegger said:

Q: Who will be the Democratic nominee for governor when your term is up?

A: You know I think the best potential ... it depends on if Dianne Feinstein comes into the race or not. I think that depends also on who will win the presidency. Because if McCain wins the presidency, I think she most likely will leave Washington and come and run for governor. I think that if Obama wins the presidency, she will want to be part of that move and want to stay because of that change, want to stay in Washington. And then Jerry Brown I think has the best shot of becoming governor of the great state. And Steve Poizner has also a good shot, who is a Republican and making his way up right now. So you know, to me, I think Jerry Brown because he has been governor twice before in California and has worked his way back up again from being mayor of Oakland to becoming the attorney general right now. And he can kind of reach the Republicans and Democrats and bring people together, so I think he has the best shot.



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