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Saturday, September 9, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Gov. Schwarzenegger apologizes for saying Latina was "very hot"

Los Angeles Times

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger apologized Friday for saying the lone Latina Republican lawmaker in California had a "very hot," fiery personality because of her ethnicity, a comment captured on audiotape last spring in his private office.

The Republican governor apologized standing next to Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, the lawmaker Schwarzenegger and his chief of staff discussed. Garcia's parents were from Puerto Rico.

"Anyone out there that feels offended by these comments, I just want to say I'm sorry," Schwarzenegger said.

"The fact is that if I would hear this kind of comments in my house, by my kids, I would be upset, and today, when I read it in the papers ... It made me cringe."

On the recording, Schwarzenegger describes Republican legislators as the "wild bunch" and, referring to Garcia, says "black blood" mixed with "Latino blood" equals "hot."

Garcia said there was no need for Schwarzenegger to apologize, adding that she often calls herself a "hot-blooded Latina."

Schwarzenegger is in a tight re-election race. The Democrat who wants to unseat him, state Treasurer Phil Angelides, said the governor "used language that is deeply offensive to all Californians."

But Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally, a Democrat who chairs the state Legislative Black Caucus, called the remarks "usual political banter. We do this all the time."

Schwarzenegger occasionally records private meetings so speechwriters, in particular, can keep a record of his thoughts and cadence.

Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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