LOS ANGELES – It was a Hollywood moment, even if it was fleeting.
The celebrity president and the celebrity governor appeared together on stage.
Sure, it was only for a minute. But the cameras never stopped clicking and the crowd never stopped cheering.
President Barack Obama and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger shook hands and shared a quick hug. “Thank you,” Obama whispered to the man who had just praised for his “great leadership.” California first lady Maria Shriver looked on – standing and applauding from her perch in the front row to their left.
“I was hoping the governor was going to take a little longer on his remarks because I was standing outside soaking up some rays,” Obama joked after the crowd quieted down and Schwarzenegger took his seat.
Obama called Schwarzenegger an “outstanding partner.”
“I am very honored to be joined here by one of the great innovators of state government,” he said.
Honoring the governor and first lady of California, the President asked the crowd to “give it up for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver.”
Obama and Schwarzenegger’s joint appearance has its political benefits for both men.
A Democratic president gains from appearing with a Republican governor who supports the stimulus package that the GOP continues to find ways to criticize. In turn, that Republican governor with a low approval rating can shine in the spotlight with a popular national leader.
“It is very important that leaders work together,” Schwarzenegger said in his introduction of Obama. “It doesn’t matter what party affiliation. We must work together especially in these difficult times like right now. This is why I’m so happy to be here.”
“I am also very excited that we have with us today President Obama,” he added. “It’s great to have him here because I want to think him – I thanked him already personally – but I want to thank him publicly for his great leadership.”
Schwarzenegger went on to make clear that he is “partnering with the White House to do everything we can to get the U.S. economy and the California economy back on track.”