WASHINGTON — After meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday, it was clear that the nation's Republican governors are divided over the $787 billion stimulus package signed into law last week.
On Sunday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who's in Washington for the National Governors Association winter meetings, went on national television to praise the stimulus.
He called it "a terrific package" and said it would pump $80 billion into the state's economy. That includes $35 billion in tax cuts and $45 billion that will go to transportation, education, health care and other areas, Schwarzenegger said.
Schwarzenegger is at odds with South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Sanford called the package a huge mistake and warned that the nation will hit a tipping point by stacking up trillions and trillions in debt.
In an appearance on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Schwarzenegger took a shot at Sanford.
"Well, Governor Sanford says that he does not want to take the money, the federal stimulus package money. And I want to say to him: I'll take it," Schwarzenegger said. "I'm more than happy to take his money or any other governor in this country that doesn't want to take this money, I take it, because we in California can need it."
At a media stakeout at the White House after Monday’s meeting, Sanford shot back.
"It's a difference of opinion that makes the world go round," Sanford told reporters.
Reacting specifically to Schwarzenegger’s remarks, Sanford said: "I don't begrudge him. Everybody's got their different take in the world of politics. I think the easiest of all things is to grab money that's there on the table. I think the more delicate question is how do we pay for all that money that’s put on the table."
Schwarzenegger, who left the White House for another meeting, skipped the stakeout.