SACRAMENTO, California - The most important political advice Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ever got from "Uncle Teddy" Kennedy was to keep it simple when reporters ask questions, the governor recalled Wednesday.
Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat known as the lion of the U.S. Senate, was generous with his advice after inviting Schwarzenegger to the family compound at Hyannisport, Massachusetts.
Schwarzenegger was a Republican political novice when he decided to run for governor of California in 2003.
"We were sitting there for hours and talking about politics and campaigning," Schwarzenegger said. "He said 'Just don't ever go into details, because you can never give the press enough details.' Just always stay 30,000 feet (10,000 metres) above and talk about your overall vision of California."
Schwarzenegger remembered his uncle through marriage during an online interview at the Twitter headquarters in San Francisco.
Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria Shriver, was Kennedy's niece. In a statement issued hours after the senator succumbed to brain cancer, the couple called him "the rock of our family."
Kennedy's death came just two weeks after that of Maria Shriver's mother, Eunice Kennedy, one of the senator's siblings. He had attended her wake but was noticeably absent from her funeral, even though it was held near his Cape Cod home.
Schwarzenegger said Kennedy "had this quality of always wanting to help" and offered it to any family member who sought it.
Spending time with the entire Kennedy family fueled his passion for politics, the governor said, but it was Eunice Kennedy who had the most influence on him. He said she had keen political instincts and determination.