As the clock winds down on his tenure, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't ready to leave.
"I'm one of those governors that actually, you know, wouldn't mind staying in another term as governor," Schwarzenegger said Monday at a Milken Institute conference in Beverly Hills with Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle and Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle.
"I totally agree what you say, Gov. Doyle, that after two terms you should get out and you should have a new breed of people come in and all that," he explained. "But there is also, you must admit, there's things that you see that you have started and you see movement, and all of a sudden you feel like it needs the follow through. You know, to go all the way, just like in the golf stroke, follow through, or in the tennis stroke, follow through. And now all of a sudden you're not there to follow through."
"So I don't want to leave right now. The same is with infrastructure or with the budget reform. There are so many issues where you want to stay for a little bit longer in order to follow through and finish the job."
Under term limits, Schwarzenegger cannot run for re-election this year, his seventh in office.
Even if California didn't have term limits, the Republican governor would have a difficult time keeping his job. A Field Poll last month found that Schwarzenegger has a 23 percent approval rating, his personal low and only 1 percentage point above Gov. Gray Davis' rating before voters recalled the Democrat in 2003.
Update (5:37 p.m.): The governor, asked what he wished he had known in 2003, said, "I don't think we have enough time to tell you the amount of things that I didn't know, because there is no school for governor. So I think no matter who steps into that position is going to have to learn very quickly and be a quick learner."
(Democrat Jerry Brown, who served two terms as governor in a pre-term limits era, might disagree with that last comment.)
Schwarzenegger said he had "great training from my in-laws." But he did plenty of learning on the job.
"The state of California became kind of the biggest classroom for me," he said. "I learned every day, and I was open minded and I approached the job in kind of a post-partisan way or bipartisan way."