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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, on the final day of his Washington D.C. swing, took a swipe at the state Republican Party and defended those GOP lawmakers that sided with him and majority Democrats in backing last week's budget.

"I think that they've done a terrific job and they should pay very little attention to what the party says," Schwarzenegger said.

The Bee's Rob Hotakainen has more from the governor:

"First of all, I would not be too concerned about that if I would be those candidates because the Republican Party has no money anyway. That is number one. Number two, I think that those six that have come in and voted for the budget are great public servants because they have done in the end what was best for the people of California and what was best for the state rather than what was best for their party ideology. So they are in my opinion great heroes and I will always support them."

Schwarzenegger has long had a cool -- if not downright icy -- relationship with the Republican Party apparatus in California. The party is far more conservative than the moderate governor, who has embraced fighting climate change as a top issue and higher taxes to balance the budget.

In 2007, Schwarzenegger chastised the state GOP in a convention speech, saying, "in movie terms, we are dying at the box office. We are not filling the seats."

In 2008, he said in an interview with Der Speigel that the Republicans running the party are "just so out there."

"Think about the Republicans from California that are running the party. I have almost no contact with them. None -- because they're just so out there," he told the magazine.

Schwarzenegger skipped the party convention in Sacramento last weekend for his East Coast trip.



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