Sacramento, Calif.—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger tells advisers on a tape that Cubans and Puerto Ricans are naturally temperamental because of their combination of “black blood” and “Latino blood.”
“I mean Cuban, Puerto Rican, they are all very hot,” the governor says on the recording of a closed-door meeting obtained by the Los Angeles Times and made available on its Web site Friday. “They have the, you know, part of the black blood in them and part of the Latino blood in them that together makes it.”
The six-minute tape was made earlier this year. On it, Schwarzenegger and Chief of Staff Susan Kennedy speak affectionately of Republican Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia and speculate about her nationality.
Garcia, who is Puerto Rican and a Republican like Schwarzenegger, told the Times the governor’s remarks did not bother her.
“I love the governor because he is a straight talker just like I am,” she said. “Very often I tell him, ‘Look, I am a hot-blooded Latina.’ I label myself a hot-blooded Latina that is very passionate about the issues, and this is kind of an inside joke that I have with the governor.”
Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Margita Thompson called the governor’s remarks “a small part of a long conversation that is taken totally out of context.”
“The governor respects every member of the Legislature and holds them in the highest regard,” Thompson said in a statement. “It is not uncommon for him to have fun and joke with the members while they’re working, especially during very tense negotiations.”
It was not known why the session was taped. The Times said Schwarzenegger sometimes records private meetings so speechwriters have a record of his thoughts and speaking patterns.
The newspaper did not say how the tape was obtained. The participants suggest during the meeting that they know they are being recorded.