California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sunday called Republican opponents of the $787 billion economic stimulus bill hypocritical if they then turn around and praise district projects created by that stimulus legislation.
Schwarzenegger, one of the few Republican governors who has consistently embraced the stimulus bill – which has been subject to a year’s worth of vilification by virtually all congressional Republicans – continued to distance himself from the position taken by his party’s national leaders on the year-old stimulus. And on Sunday he went a step further, joining the bandwagon of mostly Democrats who have been trying to paint dozens of Republicans as hypocrites for voting against the stimulus but then accepting credit for stimulus projects taking root in their states.
“I find it interesting that you have a lot of the Republicans running around and pushing back on stimulus money and saying this doesn’t create any new jobs, and then they go out and do photo-ops and they’re posing with the big check and they say, ‘Isn’t this great! Look the kind of money I provide here for the state! And this is great money to create jobs, and this has created 10,000 new jobs, and this has created 20,000 new jobs,’” Schwarzenegger said on ABC’s "This Week." “It doesn’t match up.”
Asked by "This Week" host Terry Moran if that amounted to hypocrisy, Schwarzenegger responded: “Exactly.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat appearing alongside Schwarzenegger to discuss the stimulus bill, the economy and the current debate over a jobs bill, smiled as Schwarzenegger answered. Rendell then chimed in, “It’s hypocrisy of the highest level.”
Schwarzenegger didn’t defend those Republicans, but he offered an explanation.
“I don’t want to beat up on my Republican colleagues but I think it’s kind of politics rather than thinking about only one thing and this is, ‘How do we support the president… in order to go ahead and stimulate the economy?’ And think about the people rather than the politics,” Schwarzenegger said.
Schwarzenegger and Rendell also both said they disagreed with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), who said at this week’s Conservative Political Action Committee conference that the stimulus bill did not create “one net new job” in the private sector.
“Anyone that says this hasn’t created a job, they should talk to the 150,000 people that have been getting jobs in California, from the private sector and the public sector,” Schwarzenegger said. “In every category there are jobs that have been created in California.”
“[Romney] knows better,” said Rendell.