Schwarzenegger wields giant knife in video - critics upset

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    California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger brandished a knife to symbolize budget cutting in a video he released for his Twitter followers. Spokesman Aaron McLear says the creative use of Twitter is what's important, not the knife.
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Come on. It's the Governator. He's going to do things differently.

So when he talks about cutting the budget, should you be that surprised that he whips out a two-foot hunting knife for dramatic effect?

That's exactly what Governor Schwarzenegger did in a video he released for his Twitter followers.

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The video begins with Schwarzenegger admiring his knife (symbolic of budget cuts) and then goes on to thank his Twitter fans for coming up with creative ideas on how to balance the budget. The governor says he will follow the recommendation of one constituent who advised he autograph State of California cars that will be sold later this year, thereby giving the vehicles more value.

It's not the autographing that has people bothered. It's the idea that he would release a light-hearted video in the midst of a crumbling economy and budget crisis.

"I just thought it was in poor taste because I think we're in a bad time economically and, I mean, I know there's, there's a time for levity, but I don't think this is one of those times," one constituent told Sacramento's KABC TV.

But that's criticism that Schwarzenegger doesn't buy.

El Stiffo

"You sent a governor to Sacramento -- not El Stiffo, like some in the past were," Schwarzenegger said in a press conference yesterday. "[I am] someone a little bit more entertaining, and who has a little bit more fun with the whole thing, not have fun making the cuts -- they sadden me -- but fun with the job itself."

And coming from Schwarzenegger, the knife is pretty tame. Think of all the special effects he could have used from his box office past. Grenades, dynamite, bazookas, or liquid metal killing machines.

Schwarzenegger spokesman (full disclosure: my former colleague) Aaron McLear says get off the knife. The knife isn't the story. It's what the governor is doing -- IE: using Twitter to really interact with constituents.

Twitter

McLear explained that Schwarzenegger followed the advice of a state worker by setting up a Waste Watchers website for people to send in tips on how to remove waste in state government.

"Several state workers said we have too many cars," McLear said explaining that Schwarzenegger then signed an executive order mandating that the state car fleet be decreased by 15 percent.

"Twitter followers suggested he sign the cars and sell them on eBay and Craigs List. He's doing all of it," he said.

As for the knife-wielding video? It was just a message to his Twitter followers thanking them for the tips, McLear added.

"Any other public officials using social networking like this?" McLear asked.

He may have a point. A few months ago, we looked into the phenomenon in a blog entry entitled: Politicians using Twitter: Morons or visionaries.

You can judge for yourself by clicking here. But our favorite Tweet is still from Michigan Congressman Pete Hoekstra who tweeted his trip to Iraq last December.

“Just landed in Baghdad,” blabbed Hoekstra. “I believe it may be the first time I’ve had BlackBerry service in Iraq.”

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We'll never call you a moron -- only a visionary. But we'll only do this on Twitter. So follow us!

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