Capitol Alert

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger talked with Twitter founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams in a Tweetcast Q&A today. It must have been lunchtime at Twitter's San Francisco headquarters -- judging by the open refrigerator in the background, at least.

*This post was updated at 9:20 p.m. with developments on the expected vote for the prisons package and Murphy's response*

During an otherwise lighthearted "Tweetcast" video interview, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger took a swipe at the Assembly, calling members of the lower house gutless for not yet passing the prisons package.

"They don't have the guts to now make these decisions because they're more worried about their safe seats rather than the safe streets," he said.

The plan to cut prisons costs and reduce the overall inmate population by about 27,300 was narrowly approved in the Senate last week, without any Republican votes.

But several key components of the Senate's package, including the creation of a commission to consider changes to sentencing guidelines and a proposal to release as many as 6,300 low-level, nonviolent inmates to electronic monitoring or house arrest, faced resistance in the Assembly. With 11 members possibly running for higher office, Assembly Democrats were not able to secure the 41 votes needed to approve the Senate-passed plan. The Assembly was expected to take up an altered version of the package tomorrow, but Assembly Speaker Karen Bass said late Wednesday that the vote would be put off.

"We are continuing to make progress on this very complicated issue, and we will vote as quickly as is prudent," she said in a statement. "I would expect that the Assembly will vote on a responsible plan in the coming days that reduces prison overcrowding and improves public safety - and which won't be immediately be challenged by the cops, sheriff's and DA's who Californians entrust with their safety."

Bass spokeswoman Shannon Murphy shot back at Schwarzenegger Wednesday evening for criticizing Democrats' efforts to pass his plan, which does not have the support of Republicans.

"The governor, who has vetoed prison reform legislation in the past, should spend less time rattling his rhetorical sword and more time producing Republican votes for his public safety proposals," she wrote in an e-mail.

Schwarzenegger's remarks came toward the end of a Tweetcast Q&A the governor taped with Twitter founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams earlier today. Watch the video here or check out some other interview highlights after the jump:

On wife Maria Shriver's late uncle, Sen. Ted Kennedy:

"He was extraordinary leader, and I don't think there's anyone that's going to come around that has that kind of power and intellectual aptitude and as daring as he was."

Memorable advice from Kennedy during his 2003 gubernatorial campaign:

"He said, 'Just don't go into details, because you can never give the press enough details.' "

On his mother-in-law, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who died earlier this month.

"She was a real force, as a matter of fact, people always said, I think even Joe Kennedy said, if she had been a man, she would have been a president. She would have been the first one to become president in the family, because she had very, very good instincts. She was extremely smart, very aggressive and had great vision. Always when people said 'It can't be done,' she would force it through and it would just be pure will."

On the fitness regimens of Twitter staff:

"You need some weights here, you do some 'Pump and Run' which is part of Arnold's classic fitness weekend. ... It's strength and endurance also." (Participants in the 'Pump and Run' compete for points by lifting their own bodyweight and running).

Speaking of fitness, the best place to autograph a bicycle (Schwarzenegger signed on camera a bike up for sale in this weekend's "Garage Sale"):

"Maybe on the seat, but that would be worn down very quickly, depending on what the body weight (of the rider) is."

And, of course, his thoughts on Twitter:

"With Twitter, you get an immediate response, and that's the big advantage. ... With Twitter, you don't have just 100 people in front of you, you have an endless amount, you don't even know, I don't even know how many can eventually go on and start communicating back to you immediately. So that is tremendous power and insight if you are really interested in knowing what they want instead of what you want for your political career or something."


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