Without much fanfare, Arnold Schwarzenegger was sworn into office as California’s 38th governor Monday morning.
The 56-year-old Austrian immigrant took the oath of office on the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., before an audience of 7,500 dignitaries and supporters–as millions more around the world watched the event live on television, AP reports. Schwarzenegger was also joined by his wife, Maria Shriver, who held the Bible while California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George administered the oath.
“I am humbled, I am honored and I am moved beyond words to be your governor,” Schwarzenegger said after being sworn in.
According to AP, nearly 740 journalists were expected to cover the ceremony–numbers similar to a presidential inauguration. Fifteen dignitaries from 13 countries were in attendance, including representatives from Canada, Egypt, Austria and Mexico.
The battle for the recall vote against former Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, as well as the state’s deep fiscal troubles, put a kibosh on any elaborate inaugural parties, but there were a few celebrities on hand to help usher in the new governor, including Dennis Miller, Jamie Lee Curtis, Danny DeVito and Rob Lowe. Former Miss America Vanessa Williams, who appeared with Schwarzenegger in the 1996 film Eraser, sang the national anthem.
In contrast to Schwarzenegger‘s relatively quiet inaugural proceedings, the 1999 inaugural for Davis included a $3.7 million event featuring Lionel Richie, Kenny G and a reading by actor Henry Winkler.
After a few invitation-only luncheons, Schwarzenegger was scheduled to return to the Capitol by mid-afternoon and start tackling the job of running California, which become even more daunting when his chief financial deputy estimated the state budget deficit at $25 billion–far more than previously documented.
According to AP, The Governator also has to live up to some major promises he made to voters, including repealing a big hike in the car tax on his first day in office–which will add an estimated $4 billion to the deficit–as well as budget cuts, reform of the state’s worker compensation system and a repeal of a new law that lets illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses.