Washington Arnold Schwarzenegger, making his Sunday talk show debut as governor, said that he and other foreign-born citizens should be eligible to run for the White House and that President Bush could carry California in November if he did more to help the state.
The Austrian-born former bodybuilder, in the capital for his first meeting with fellow governors, said he had not thought about running for president in the future. The Constitution says only natural-born citizens of the United States are eligible for the country's highest office.
The Republican governor said anyone who has been a U.S. citizen for at least 20 years -- as he has -- should "absolutely" be able to seek the presidency. A constitutional amendment proposed by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, would make that possible.
"There are so many people in this country that are now from overseas, that are immigrants, that are doing such a terrific job with their work, bringing businesses here, that there's no reason why not," said Schwarzenegger.
"Look at the kind of contribution that people like Henry Kissinger have made, Madeleine Albright," he said, referring to two former secretaries of state who were born in Europe.
Schwarzenegger said on NBC's "Meet the Press' that he had been too busy with California's problems to contemplate a future run for the White House. "I have no idea, I haven't thought about that at all," he said.
Schwarzenegger reaffirmed his opposition to the gay marriages that are taking place in San Francisco. He said Mayor Gavin Newsom's refusal to obey the state's law against same-sex marriages could set a bad precedent.
On Friday, the governor said he had directed California's attorney general to take action to stop the marriages.