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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Arnold Schwarzenegger Sworn In

Aired November 17, 2003 - 14:04   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANNOUNCER: Please welcome today's master of ceremonies, Mr. Stan Atkinson.
(APPLAUSE)

STAN ATKINSON, MASTER OF CEREMONIES: Relax. Be seated.

Good morning, everybody. What a glorious day, how perfect. They say you never want to mess with Mother Nature, but Mother Nature would never mess with the Terminator either. Welcome to this, the swearing in ceremony, the inauguration of the 38th governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

(APPLAUSE)

And on behalf of the governor-elect, the first lady of California, Maria Schriver, and the four first children. Thank you for coming.

(APPLAUSE)

What was that somebody said once about nothing exciting ever happens in Sacramento? Hey, we're the home of the kings, the future NBA champs. I heard some boos from Los Angeles out there. We're the home of the championship AAA baseball team, the River Cats.

(APPLAUSE)

And now we're command central for Arnold Schwarzenegger.

(APPLAUSE)

At this time, would you all please stand for the invocation and remain standing for the presentation of the colors, the national anthem and the pledge of allegiance.

Monsignor Lloyd Torgerson, would you please come forward to offer the invocation.

MSGR. LLOYD TORGERSON: Let's join together in solidarity and prayer. God of creation, Lord of our lives, source of strength and wisdom, as morning breaks and day unfolds, we gather in deep gratitude for the blessings lavished upon us in our great nation, and for the privilege to live in this golden state we call home. The beauty and plenitude of the Earth, the expanse of the sea and the sky, the teeming cities, kaleidoscope of faces, color and energy, bear witness to the richness of our land. Yet our days are fraught with challenge, the road made rough with time, the way not always clear. Still, we trust that struggles embrace, bear wisdom, insight, food for the journey. Maya Angelou writes, history, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if lived with courage, need not be lived again.

Mindful of these eloquent words, we step into a future filled with hope, confident in God's brightness lighting the way. We celebrate and honor Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's leadership, his yes to the responsibilities he embraces today as governor of our great state. We trust that his vision, his largess, his enthusiasm, determination, to lead with courage, conviction, will enable California to chart new courses in its economic, social, political and educational arenas.

The governor's journey will not be taken alone, but rather in companionship with Maria Schriver, wife, mother, first lady, a woman of incredible strength, of indomitable spirit, of compassionate love for her family, friends, the stranger, the one in need.

We pray for this family, and especially for their children, Katherine, Christina, Patrick and Christopher, that as they generously serve others, they themselves may experience an abundance of grace, mercy and understanding. In the words of Herman Melville, we believe, we cannot live our lives alone. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men and women. Inspired by this spirit of connectedness and inclusivity. We ask your blessing on our elected representatives in the legislature, that they may work together, learn from the past, enter into the present with all its challenges, move forward, seeking wisdom from voices all around, trusting in your providential care, to point the way and to guide us into a future ripe with possibilities.

Amen.

(SINGING)

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Vanessa Williams starred with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie "Eraser." There are others up here on this stage who have a connection with Arnold, his family and a number of others.

ATKINSON: Governor-elect Schwarzenegger has asked a group of youngsters to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance this morning. The group includes participants from Arnold's All-Star After-School program in Los Angeles, the Special Olympics chapter of Sacramento, and children from elementary schools throughout the state, as well as the governor-elect's children.

Please help me welcome these terrific kids to the stage.

(APPLAUSE)

(PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE)

ATKINSON: Now for the posting of the colors.

Please be seated. Now, please welcome Maria Schriver.

(APPLAUSE)

MARIA SHRIVER, WIFE OF ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: Thank you. Those are my brothers making all that noise.

Excuse me, Governor Davis and Mrs. Davis.

Anyway, welcome everybody. I'm so excited that all of you are here today. And I wanted to just read some -- a few words of a woman that I admire and have a great deal of respect for, Maya Angelou. You heard Monsignor Torgerson quote her. She's one of our country's most respected poets. And I wanted to share some of her more powerful and inspirational words with all of you on this special occasion. "We awaken on a low plane, on a plane of defeat, beneath the level of possibility, overpowered sometimes by a general climate of hopelessness. Promise can even be viewed as unattainable, and into this morass of misery, a light shines, a light enters. Sometimes it's the light of one child smiling, sometimes it's a light of a person who dares to dream a great dream. Into this atmosphere of gloom and despair, day breaks, light emerges, flooding the grim meadow of misery with hope and promise.

"Light, that beautiful and incredible new color brings joy, laughter and triumph to repair our sad hearts and strengthen our weak wills. We try in a meeting like this in this beautiful multi-colored meeting, we try to be optimistic, and we discover the miracle of just being together. Here is a miracle. To remain standing, to remain focused, to remain understanding, that all human beings are more alike than we are unalike.

"In fact, in creating a moment like this, what we have done is we have staved away to the corners the cruelty, brutally, bigotry and battering. What we have done is open a door to friendship, one of the greatest emotions and conditions that human beings can create. No doubt every person in this world has gone to bed one night or another with fear or pain or loss or disappointment or terror, and yet each one of us has somehow awakened, arisen."

It is amazing. Here we are so united, understanding that this state belongs to each of us. And because of that, we rise. We rise when we open doors for friendship. We invite fair play into our boardrooms, and justice into our hearts. We offer space to mercy, and ask humor to live with abandon in all of our lives. Then, and only then and forever, each one of us realizes that we are made free and special, and able to create our own proud and enduring history.

"We, this people, on this small and drifting planet, whose hands can strike with such abandon, that in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living. Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness, that the haughty neck is happy to bow and the proud back is glad to bend.

"Out of such chaos, out of such contradiction, we learn that we are neither devils nor divines. When we come to it, we, this people, on this wayward floating body, created on this Earth, have the power to fashion for this Earth a climate where every man and every woman can live freely without sanctimonious piety and without enduring history.

"When we come to it, we this people on this wayward floating body, created on this Earth, of this Earth, have the power to fashion for this earth a climate where every man and every woman can live freely without sanctimonious piety, without crippling fear. When we come to it, we must confess that we are the possible, we are the miraculous, the true wonders of this world. That is when, and only when, we come to it."

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

ATKINSON: Thank you, Maria. I will now ask the honorable Ronald George, the chief justice of the California state supreme court, to come forward and administer the oath of office to Governor-Elect Schwarzenegger.

RONALD GEORGE, CALIFORNIA CHIEF JUSTICE: It is my pleasure to ask Governor-Elect Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ms. Maria Schriver to step forward.

As chief justice of California, it is my pleasure to administer the oath of office to you as the 38th governor of the state of California, symbolizing the cooperative relationship among our branches of government. I look forward very much to working with you, to continue our efforts to improve the administration of justice in our state.

I will now ask you, please, to place your left hand on this historic family bible, dating back from 1811, I believe. And to raise your right hand and repeat the oath of office after me. I, Arnold Schwarzenegger...

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: I, Arnold Schwarzenegger...

GEORGE: ... do solemnly swear...

SCHWARZENEGGER: ... do solemnly swear...

GEORGE: ... that I will support and defend...

SCHWARZENEGGER: ... that I will support and defend...

GEORGE: ... the Constitution of the United States...

SCHWARZENEGGER: ... the Constitution of the United States...

GEORGE: ... and the constitution of the state of California...

SCHWARZENEGGER: ... and the constitution of the state of California...

GEORGE: ... that I take this obligation freely... SCHWARZENEGGER: ... that I take this obligation freely...

GEORGE: ... without any mental reservation...

SCHWARZENEGGER: ... without any mental reservation...

GEORGE: ... or purpose of evasion...

SCHWARZENEGGER: ... or purpose of evasion...

GEORGE: ... and that I will defend the constitution against all enemies...

SCHWARZENEGGER: ... and that I will defend the constitution against all enemies...

GEORGE: ... foreign and domestic...

SCHWARZENEGGER: ... foreign or domestic...

GEORGE: ... and that I will well and faithfully discharge...

SCHWARZENEGGER: ... and that I will well and faithfully discharge...

GEORGE: ... the duties upon which I am about to enter.

SCHWARZENEGGER: ... the duties upon which I am about to enter.

GEORGE: Congratulations, Governor Schwarzenegger.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

SCHWARZENEGGER: Thank you. Thank you very much. Very nice. Thank you. Mr. Chief Justice, Governor and Mrs. Davis, Governor and Mrs. Wilson, Governor and Mrs. Deumejian, Governor Brown, legislative leadership, constitutional officers, my fellow Californians.

I am humbled, I am moved and I am honored beyond words to be your governor.

To the thousands of you who came here today, I have taken the oath to serve you. To the others across this state, Democrats, Republicans, and independents, it doesn't matter, I took the oath to serve you. To those who have no power, to those who have dropped out, disappointed in politics as usual, I took the oath to serve you.

I say to everyone here today, and to all Californians, I will not forget my oath, and I will not forget you.

Let me first thank Governor Davis and Mrs. Davis, and the entire administration for a smooth transition. There has been a spirit of mutual respect in our cooperation, and I want to thank you for that. Thank you very much. Thank you. My fellow citizens, today is a new day in California.

I did not seek this office to do things the way things have been done. What I care about is to restoring your confidence in your government.

When I became a citizen 20 years ago, I had to take the citizenship test. I had to learn about the history and principles of our republic. And what I learned and what I have never forgotten is that sovereignty rests with the people -- not with the government.

In recent years, Californians have lost confidence. They felt that the action of their government did not represent the will of the people.

This election was not about replacing one man. It was not about replacing one party. It was about changing the entire political climate of this state.

Everywhere I went during my campaign, I could feel the public hunger for our elected officials to work together, to work openly and to work for the greater good. This election was the people's veto for politics as usual.

With the eyes of the world upon us, we did the dramatic. Now we must put the rancor of the past behind us and do the extraordinary.

It is no secret that I'm a newcomer to politics. I realize I was elected on faith and hope. And I feel a great responsibility not to let the people down.

As soon as I go inside the capital behind me, I will sign my first order as governor. I will sign Executive Order No. 1, which will repeal the 300 percent increase in a car tax.

I will issue a proclamation convening a special session of the legislature to address California's fiscal crisis.

I will issue a proclamation convening a special session to reform our worker's compensation system.

I will call on the legislators to repeal SP-60.

And I will work hard to reform government, but bringing openness and full disclosure to public business.

I enter this office beholding to no one, except you, my fellow citizens.

I pledge my governorship to your interests, not to special interests.

So I have appointed to my cabinet the Republicans, Democrats, and independents because I want the people to know that my administration is not about politics, it is about saving California. The state of California is in a crisis. As I've said many times, we have spent ourselves into the largest deficit in the nation. We have the worst credit rating in the nation. We have the highest worker's compensation costs in the nation. And next year we will have the highest unemployment insurance costs in the nation. And we have the worst business climate in the nation.

But even though these problems are staggering, they do not even compare in what Californians have overcome in the past. Our state has endured earthquakes, floods and fires. The latest fires have destroyed lives, homes, businesses, and devastated hundred dress of thousands of acres of land that we love.

On behalf of my fellow citizens, I salute all of those who have served on the front lines of the battle. The firefighters, emergency worker, law enforcement officials, National Guards and the thousands of volunteers.

As we watched the fires storms raging, we saw bravery that never faltered and determination that never wavered in a fight that never flagged.

To the families of those who gave their lives and those who have lost the lives, your loss is ours. As Californians, we mourn together. We fight together. And we will rebuild together.

And just as California will come back from the fires, we will also come back from fiscal adversity. I know there are some of you who say that the legislature and I will never agree on the solutions to their problems. But I have found in my life that people often respond in remarkable ways, to remarkable challenges.

In the words of President Kennedy, I am an idealist without illusions. I know it will hard to put aside years of partisan bitterness, I know it will be hard overcome the political habits of the past. But for guidance, let's look back in history to a period that I started when I became a citizen.

The summer of 1787. Delegates of the original 13 states were meeting in Philadelphia. The dream of a new nation was falling apart. Divisions were deep. Events were spiraling downward. Merchant against farmer, big states against small, north against south.

Our founding fathers knew that the fate of the union is in their hands. Just as the fate of our California is in our hands. What happened in that summer of 1787 is that they put their differences aside and produced the blueprint for our government, our constitution.

They are coming together, has been called the miracle of Philadelphia. Now the members of the legislature and I must bring about the miracle of Sacramento. A miracle based on cooperation, good will, new ideas and devotion to the long-term good of California.

What we face may look insurmountable. But I learned something in all these years of training and competing. I learned something from all of these years of lifting and training hard. I thought I couldn't lift another ounce of weight. What I learned was that we are always stronger than we know.

And California is like that, too. We are stronger than we know.

There is a massive weight we must lift off our state. Alone, I cannot lift it. But together, we can.

It is true that things may get harder before they get better. But I have never been afraid of the struggle. I have never been afraid of the fight. And I have never been afraid of the hard work.

I will not rest until our fiscal house is in order. I will not rest until California has a competitive job creating machine. I will not rest until the people of California come to see their government as a partner in their lives, and not a roadblock to their dreams.

Today I ask all of you to join me in a new partnership for California. One that is civil and respectful of our diverse population. One that challenges each and every one of us to serve our state in a joyful, productive and creative way.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have an immigrant's optimism, that what I have learned in citizenship class is true, the system does work, and I believe that with all my heart.

I have big hopes for California. President Reagan spoke of America as the shining city on a hill. I see California as the golden dream by the sea.

Perhaps some think that this is fanciful and poetic, but to an immigrant like me, who as a boy saw the Soviet tanks rolling through the streets of Austria, to someone like me who came here with absolutely nothing and gained absolutely everything, it is not fanciful to see California as the golden dream.

For millions of people around the world, California has always glimmered with hope and glowed with opportunity. Millions of people around the world sent their dreams to California, with the hope that their lives will follow.

My fellow citizens, I have taken the oath to uphold the constitution of California. And now, with your help, and with God's, I will also uphold the dream that is California. Thank you very much. And may God bless California. Thank you very much. Thank you.

WOODRUFF: With that very brief 12-minute speech by the new governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, invoking images of a golden city, a golden state on the sea. He talked about the miracle of Sacramento. Talked about his own citizenship. Arnold Schwarzenegger saying, we the people of California are strong enough to overcome the problems that are facing us.

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