Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Gov. Gray Davis on Tuesday appeared to be the best of political friends, nearly four years after the recall that ousted Davis from office.
The former Democratic governor introduced Schwarzenegger Tuesday at the "Ceasefire!" conference in Los Angeles to promote bipartisanship, and he couldn't stop saying nice things about the current governor, which was the point of event. Never mind the fact that Schwarzenegger helped remove Davis from office in 2003, from the one job that Davis said he had worked toward his entire life.
Davis called Schwarzenegger "my successor and my friend," though he didn't mention how the circumstances that led to that situation.
"I want to thank and salute Gov. Schwarzenegger for bucking his own party and embracing the need for stem-cell research and the need for reduction in carbon emissions," Davis said.
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Davis finished by clenching both fists and imploring the crowd to "give it up for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger!"
In his keynote address, Schwarzenegger discussed his "post-partisanship" efforts, calling on Washington to do what California already has done in terms of political cooperation. He said Congress has shown how divided it is by not finding a compromise on a bill that would overhaul the nation's immigration laws.
Schwarzenegger also took credit for creating a divisive atmosphere in California in 2005, during the special election, but he said he "learned my lesson." He insisted that "you can be a centrist and be principled," despite those who say leaders have to sell-out their values in order to compromise.
He told a story about former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, who on his deathbed made a point of calling political foe President Nixon to invite him to his funeral in 1978, despite the fact that Nixon had been living in disgrace ever since his resignation in 1974.
"Now think about that, what political grace and human compassion Humphrey showed," Schwarzenegger said. "Where has that world gone? How do we get it back? What bridge can we take to return there?"
The "Ceasefire! Bridging the Political Divide" conference also featured Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, both of whom spoke Monday at the two-day event. The University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication organized the conference.