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Politics

Schwarzenegger apologizes for remark about Cubans, Puerto Ricans

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published September 9, 2006


SANTA MONICA, Calif. - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger apologized Friday for saying during a closed-door meeting that Cubans and Puerto Ricans are naturally feisty and temperamental because of their combination of "black blood" and "Latino blood."

He said the tape-recorded comments "made me cringe" when he read them in Friday's Los Angeles Times.

"Anyone out there that feels offended by those comments, I just want to say I'm sorry, I apologize," Schwarzenegger said. He added that if he heard his children make similar comments, "I would be upset."

Schwarzenegger has a history of making off-the-cuff remarks that stir controversy. He called California legislators "girlie men" and "losers" and talked of kicking nurses' butts.

The statements about Hispanics and blacks were on a six-minute tape made during a March 3 speechwriting session between Schwarzenegger and his advisers. On it, Schwarzenegger and chief of staff Susan Kennedy speak affectionately of state Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia and speculate about her nationality.

"I mean Cuban, Puerto-Rican, they are all very hot," the governor says on the recording. "They have the, you know, part of the black blood in them and part of the Latino blood in them that together makes it."

Garcia, who is Puerto Rican, appeared with Schwarzenegger on Friday and said she was not offended by the governor's comments. Garcia said she often calls herself a "hot-blooded Latina."

Schwarzenegger also said he called leaders from ethnic groups, who he said were not upset.

"All of them understood it was an off-the-record conversation," Schwarzenegger said. "It was not meant to be in any negative way."

A spokesman for Democratic Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez declined to comment directly on the remark but said the governor "has always been very respectful toward Latinos."

"These are hardly Nixon's Watergate tapes," Nunez spokesman Richard Stapler said.

However, Schwarzenegger's Democratic challenger, Phil Angelides, said the governor should "conduct himself with dignity."

[Last modified September 9, 2006, 01:31:24]


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