A politically weakened Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sought Thursday to move beyond his failed special election proposals, urging lawmakers to work together and assuring them, "I have learned my lesson."
In his third State of the State speech, Schwarzenegger asked Californians to put behind them a year filled with acrimony over the election and devoid of significant political accomplishment.
It was his first statewide speech since voters rejected all four of his ballot measures on Nov. 8.
"I have absorbed my defeat. I have learned my lesson. And the people, who always have the last word, sent a clear message - cut the warfare, cool the rhetoric, find common ground and fix the problems together," Schwarzenegger said before a packed Assembly chamber. "To my fellow Californians, I say, 'Message received."'
Facing re-election in November, the governor tried to persuade Californians to set aside any lingering bitterness over last year's election campaign and regain the bipartisan image that made him so popular during his first year in office.
Schwarzenegger sought to reposition himself in the political center, a step that could be crucial for his re-election chances as a Republican running in a state where two-thirds of voters are registered as Democrats or independents.