BAGHDAD (AP) — California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger dropped in on U.S. troops in Iraq on Monday, thanking them for the sacrifices they and their families are making.
Schwarzenegger entered a crowded dining hall at Camp Victory on Baghdad’s outskirts to a loud roar from the soldiers gathered.
He congratulated them on the job they were doing before shaking hands and posing for photographs.
The former Mr. Universe also discussed with soldiers the need to work out, reminding them: “You have to pump up every day.”
Schwarzenegger planned to work out with some of the troops on Tuesday after serving them breakfast, said his spokesman, Aaron McLear.
McLear said the governor also hopes to meet with Iraqi officials. On Monday, Schwarzenegger had dinner with a group of generals — including Gen. Raymond Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq — after handing out cigars to troops.
McLear said Schwarzenegger has been wanting to make such a trip for a while but has been unable to do so as he dealt with pressing issues in California, including a series of multibillion-dollar budget shortfalls.
The California Protocol Foundation, a group headed by some of California’s top business officials that raises money for the governor’s travels, is paying for the overseas trip, McLear said.
Schwarzenegger also plans to visit his parents’ graves Tuesday in his hometown of Graz, Austria. He will then travel to Italy, where he will address a policy forum in Milan on Wednesday.
At the World Regions Forum, the governor will discuss the role state and local governments can play in influencing global policy on everything from the environment to the economy.