Los Angeles, Oct. 9 (Reuters): One day into his new political career, California governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger is already wondering where the applause went.
After sparking a frenzy of cheering and applause on the campaign trail and at his victory party on Tuesday night, Schwarzenegger was surprised to find a large hotel ballroom of hundreds of journalists — including 60 television cameras — regard him with business-like calm as he entered the room.
“Don’t get too excited with the applause,” he joked as he began one of the relatively few news conferences he has given since announcing that he wanted to become governor of America’s largest state.
His political career has also prompted some frowns at home. Wife Maria Shriver originally did not want him to run but then came abroad and campaigned for him. But he had a tougher time winning over his young son.
“My son, he needs a lot of attention, which all children do, and this past eight weeks was very tough even though I made it home almost every night, and tucked them into bed and tried to take them to school in the morning,” he said.
“It was very difficult and they have missed me a lot, and my son did say: ‘I hope you lose so I can have our daddy back,’ because he thinks I’m going to move now to Sacramento and never come back again for months and months.”
Schwarzenegger declined to say whether he would move to the state capital, which some regard as a sleepy backwater compared to Los Angeles. Insiders say it is more likely that he will commute home to Los Angeles on his private jet.
“I promised that I would see him as many times as possible,” the actor-turned-politician said in remarks that mixed an easy style of humour and a review of campaign themes.
“It’s like being on a movie set at a movie location, that sometimes I’m home and sometimes I'm not home,” he said. “They are much calmer now about the whole thing.”
The story followed a campaign in which the actor barely mentioned his children as they stayed out of the very bright public limelight. They attend a school so private that there is not even a sign outside describing the institution.
Schwarzenegger, dressed in a grey suit and green tie, did say his 13-year-old daughter, Katherine, greeted him with enthusiasm yesterday morning.
“My daughter brought me coffee this morning to my bed and she woke me up, whispered in my ear and said: ‘Mr Governor, your coffee is ready’” he said.