(CNN) -- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke to CNN's Campbell Brown Wednesday in Long Beach, California, where Schwarzenegger was speaking at The Women's Conference, organized by his wife, Maria Shriver. Here is a transcript of the interview:
CNN's Campbell Brown talks politics with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Brown: We are at this extraordinary event that your wife has put together. This year, you had a woman who got 18 million votes in this election. You have a woman on the GOP ticket for the first time ever. And, yet, a lot of people out there say there is a glass ceiling for women in politics. What do you think we've learned this year?
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: Well, first of all, let me just say that this conference is really growing rapidly. I mean, it's really amazing. And I think with this presidential election, we have seen, again, a huge move forward. We see two women in the mix here. We saw [former Democratic presidential candidate Sen.] Hilary Clinton doing an extraordinary job with her campaign. And we see, now, with [Republican vice presidential candidate Alaska] Gov. [Sarah] Palin, also, being now in the mix, and for the Republican party that was even, actually, a bigger kind of a surprise because I thought it would take the Republican party much longer to go in that direction.
Brown: Let's talk about the campaign more generally. Do you think [Republican presidential candidate Sen.] John McCain is going to win this election?
Schwarzenegger: You know, I think that if I would know that 100 percent, I would start making bets on it. I think, in politics, you never know. As you know, that in the last few presidential elections they have been very, very close -- sometimes only by a few hundred-thousand votes. Sometimes where the candidates got more of the popular vote and the others more of the electoral vote. So I think that is very hard to say. I am going to go to Columbus, Ohio... Watch Schwarzenegger's interview with Brown »
Brown: To campaign for him
Schwarzenegger: ... to campaign for McCain and to help out.
Brown: What are you going to say? What's your message?
Schwarzenegger: I feel very reluctant always leaving the state because our state is also in a crisis like the rest of the country. So that's why I didn't go out there campaigning much more than I wanted to. But, you know, I'll basically just say that it is very important to elect McCain. He is a solid guy. He has great character. He has served this country well. He has been a public servant. He has been, you know, a war hero. And, he has great ideas for the economy, great ideas for the environment. And, he is a rebel in his own party and that's what I like because I am, in a way, a rebel in my own party. You know, that we don't look at it just in an ideological way. But he is willing to cross the aisle. He is willing to make decisions that is best for the people rather than what is best for the party. And, to me, that is always the important thing.
Brown: But earlier this month, you criticized both campaigns for the type of campaign that you felt they were running. McCain is who you are endorsing. Yet, you've seen his campaign accuse [Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack] Obama of "palling around with terrorists," of questioning his patriotism. What do you make of those tactics?
Schwarzenegger: You know, I don't get involved in forming or shaping the campaign. To me, only one thing counts and that is to stay with the facts and to stay with what is best for the people. Campaigns have their own ways of running things. As you know, in history of America, campaigns are run in a certain way and they do what they think is best. I don't believe in personal attacks. I, personally, don't think that the people are interested in that many times. I think that the people really want to hear what the issues are. And, I have always said that both of the candidates should stay with the topics of: How do we form energy policy for the next 10 years that Americans will benefit? And how do we go and clean up the environment? And those are the issues, I think, that they ought to talk about and leave everything else out.
Brown: But, on the issues, for example, energy, which is obviously an incredibly important issue out here in California. The mantra of the McCain/Palin ticket has been "Drill, baby, drill." Do you think that is the right approach?
Schwarzenegger: Well, you are absolutely incorrect. I am sorry to correct you, but can I...
Brown: It was chanted at the [Republican] Convention.
Schwarzenegger: Let me just tell you why you are incorrect. I don't believe in drilling off the shore of California.
Brown: But they do.
Schwarzenegger: Other states don't mind drilling off the shore. The federal government made it very clear it's up to the states to make that decision. So he is all for that, but he's also said that we should explore renewable energy. He talked to me, many times, about 20 percent of renewables in 10 years. He talked to me about nuclear energy, fusion, alternative fuels, biofuels -- all of those things -- and making cars, electric cars, and about going on about various different energies. So people forget that sometimes and don't mention those things because it sounds more shocking when they say, "Drill, baby, drill."
Brown: But, when the entire Republican Convention is chanting, "Drill, baby, drill" ......This isn't the media pushing this.
Schwarzenegger: The entire Republican Convention does not speak for McCain. As I've said, he is a rebel for his own party. And, the important thing is that McCain has a great portfolio of different energy sources and different solutions to the problems we are facing today. And that is important. And that is what the people should know. And that is what I want to talk about.
Brown: You have said, a couple of times now, that McCain is a rebel within his own party. That he walks his own path. He has not, necessarily, always been in lock-step and, certainly, you are right about that with the die-hard conservatives of the Republican party. But, Sarah Palin, many people will tell you, is. She is very much a part of the conservative movement of the Republican party. What do you think of her as a choice?
Schwarzenegger: I think it was a great choice. (Brown: Why?) But, every choice has its assets and every choice has its shortcomings. And what you do when you are on the other side of the camp is you point out the other side's shortcomings. And, so, they will always point out that she is not experienced and that she has bought too much clothes and all of those kinds of issues. She is an executive as the governor, running the state, and she has an approval rating of 80 percent. So, it shows you, again, that she has done an extraordinary job on that. And, one would assume, from seeing this history, and her passion about public service, and reaching out, and helping people, that she would do the same job as the vice president when she's in office.
Brown: Do you think she is she qualified to be president?
Schwarzenegger: I think that she will get to be qualified.
Brown:: She will get there? What do you mean? She's not ready yet?
Schwarzenegger: By the time she is sworn in, I think she will be ready. You get to get up to speed. I know, when I became governor, there were a lot of things I did not know. The answer is: Do you have the will? Do you have the will to educate yourself? Do you have the will to get up to speed? Do you have the will? Are you a sponge that absorbs information very quickly? And that's the kind of person that she is. And, I think that is exactly what she would do, also, if she becomes vice president.
Brown: What do you think about Obama, do you think he is ready to be commander-in-chief?
Schwarzenegger: I think that he is a very strong, aggressive person that is a visionary, I think...
Brown: Ready to be commander-in-chief though?
Schwarzenegger: He's...I think he sees himself as a leader, I think that he had long ago had those inspirations to climb that ladder, he's mapped that out very carefully, he's done a good job at that and he's a great communicator. Those are all his assets and it's up to the people. I obviously believe that McCain is the better man, but believe me I think both of them are great candidates.
Brown: You suggested in an earlier interview that if asked you would consider serving in an Obama cabinet?
Schwarzenegger: Absolutely wrong...
Brown: Explain what you meant.
Schwarzenegger: I never said that -- I just want you to know that maybe it was taken this way and that you heard it that way.
Brown: Well, explain to me what you meant...
Schwarzenegger: What I meant...
Brown: Because you are making a case here for a very post-partisan view of the world.
Schwarzenegger: I made it very clear that I would not leave California before my term is up, which is the end of 2010 beginning of 2011, so therefore it doesn't matter who is president, I will not leave this state, no matter for what position, that's No. 1. No. 2, I made it also very clear that no matter who wins that I will always be there and help in any way I can. If Obama wins or if McCain wins, if they ask me can you help us overseas and negotiate with environmental issues or with global warming or with whatever it may be -- you never turn down a president, that's an old rule. So of course if someone calls me and says could you help me, I understand you don't want to take a Cabinet position but can you help with this or that, I will be there and that's what I said. So someone immediately picked it up and said oh he's willing to go and work for Obama. I am willing to help any president or senator in order to get things done, because for me it's all about making America great and keeping America great.
Brown: What's the next act for Arnold Schwarzenegger? I know a lot of people are wondering. I know you have two more years, but what happens after?
Schwarzenegger: Well, it is not important right now for me to think about that. What's important is for me to keep the eye on the ball, right now. I'm focusing on California and America and not about my career two years from now. Who cares? I've dealt with myself. I'm the most masculine man in the world. I want to be the richest guy. I want to go to be a star in the movies. I've done that.
Brown: You've evolved.
Schwarzenegger: It's like been there, done that. It's not about me now. It's about California and America. Because everything that I've done, every dream that I've had has become a reality because of America. And now it's important for me to work hard so that other people can have big dreams and make their dreams become a reality.
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