Arnold is perhaps one of the most prominent icons of the 20th century, and of course his legacy continues into the 21st century. His enormous accomplishments range from acclaimed movie performances, Mr. Olympic bodybuilding titles and political involvement. Without a doubt, Arnold epitomizes the "American Dream." Currently serving as Governor of California, he still finds time to participate in films. Born on July 30th, 1947 in Graz, Austria, Schwarzenegger was raised with strict rules and morals instilled by his parents. The second son of a police officer in his native town, his childhood was a very difficult one and proved to be the building block for his character today. The beginning of his bodybuilding career began when he wanted to join the soccer team. He began lifting weights, and his destiny was already starting to pan out. He later joined the Austrian army at 18 in order to follow his strict diet. His stay was very short as he went AWOL to take part in the Mr. Junior Europe competition, which he won by the way. And so a legend was born. Schwarzenegger started piling up professional titles and later went on to win the International Powerlifting Championship before he made the move to the U.S. in 1968.
After winning Mr. Universe as an amateur and a professional, he was gradually becoming the talk of the weightlifting industry. This launched his weightlifting career and he won six consecutive Mr. Olympia titles from 1970 to 1975 (and again in 1980). He had pretty much realized his dream of becoming the "best-built man in the world." He temporarily ceased competing as he felt he "wasn't giving others a chance to win." His first role in a motion picture was for the movie Hercules Goes to New York in 1970, which later landed him an appearance on the The Merv Griffin Show.
A short-lived venture into show business led him to start a construction company with his bodybuilder friend Franco Columbu. The profits were going to fund a mail-order business of fitness material such as books and cassettes. Driven by his passion to be taken seriously and be wealthy, he managed to obtain a correspondence degree in business and international economics from the University of Wisconsin. His constant inflow of money allowed him to live the life of a superstar even before his bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron was released in 1977.
Schwarzenegger won a Golden Globe for Best New Actor in the 1976 movie Stay Hungry. His acting career didn't take off, however, until he obtained the lead role in Conan the Barbarian in 1982. But his most memorable and career-launching role came with The Terminator in 1984, directed by James Cameron.
This sci-fi flick presented Schwarzenegger as a cold-hearted cyber killer. His following movies were also box-office champs: 1985's Commando, 1988's Twins, and 1990's Total Recall and Kindergarten Cop. His personal life also turned out to be a success. After dating Maria Shriver for eight years, they finally got married in 1986. Niece to former president John F. Kennedy and therefore part of the Kennedy legacy, Maria had now brought an avid Republican to the forefront.
Schwarzenegger was often seen alongside president George Bush during his administration, as Chairman of the President's Council on Sports and Fitness.Terminator 2: Judgment Day made its presence felt in theaters when it was released in 1991, as it became one of Arnold's most commercial hits to date. But the success of The Last Action Hero was followed with the even more disappointing film, Junior.
True Lies (1994), Eraser (1996) and Batman & Robin (1997), however, managed to bring back some of his action superhero credibility. The "Austrian Oak," as people often refer to him, returned to the big screen in the 1999 movie End of Days, as a hero trying to confront Satan in an "end of the world" millennium movie. After his role in 2000's The Sixth Day, Arnold was seen blowing up more stuff in Collateral Damage in 2002 (whose release date was pushed back from its original fall 2001 release date due to the terrorist-themed plot). Fans were pleased to see Arnold Schwarzenegger back in full force, reprising his role as the "good cyborg" in 2003's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, co-starring Claire Danes and Kristanna Loken.
One of the most respected actors in Hollywood (despite his many Razzie Award nominations), Arnold went on The Tonight Show to announce his candidacy for Governor of California, in August 2003. Two months later, Schwarzenegger was elected as Gary Davis' replacement in the recall elections, earning nearly 3.4 million votes. Whether he's remembered as a Hollywood powerhouse or a politician, it's obvious that Schwarzenegger has lived the American Dream.
Arnold Schwarzenegger May Face UK Libel Trial
Arnold Schwarzenegger edged closer to facing a British libel trial on Wednesday after he failed to block a legal action brought a reporter who alleged the actor-turned-politician sexually assaulted her.
British television host Anna Richardson alleges she was libeled by the California governor and two of his campaign workers in a 2003 article over the assault claim.
She says the article, which appeared in the Los Angeles Times, meant she "deliberately and dishonestly fabricated" allegations that the Hollywood star groped her breast during a 2000 interview in a London hotel.
On Wednesday, High Court judge David Eady upheld an earlier ruling that said legal papers could be legally served against Schwarzenegger in the United States and that he was "not peripheral" to the case.
The decision means he could face a libel trial in Britain later this year.
The 57-year-old Austrian-born bodybuilder and star of the blockbuster "Terminator" films was dogged by sex allegations during his campaign to become California governor.
Arnie: 'I'd still use steroids'
FILM star turned politician Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he has no regrets about using performance-enhancing drugs.
The Terminator star has long acknowledged using steroids as a professional body-builder - and he would not change a thing. He said: "I have no regrets about it because, at that time, it was something new that came on the market, and we went to the doctor and did it under doctors’ supervision.
"We were experimenting with it. It was a new thing. So you can’t roll the clock back and say, ‘now I would change my mind on this’."
The governor of California told ABC News in the United States that, even knowing what he now knows about steroids, he would still have used them.
But Schwarzenegger, who wants body-building to be seen as a respectable sport, said he would not encourage anyone to use drugs, as it would send out the wrong message to children.
He said: "People should take food supplements, people should be able to take the vitamins and all of the nutritious stuff that is available, but stay away from drugs."
The governor defended his decision to veto a bill that would have forced high school coaches to teach students about the dangers of steroids and illegal substances. He said he had taken that stance because the bill had lumped performance-enhancing food supplements with illegal drugs.
Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger told the interviewer he had never seriously considered becoming US president, despite once expressing support for an amendment to the American constitution which bans foreigners from running for the White House. Several politicians have proposed a change to allow immigrants to run for president after they have been US citizens for 20 years.
Schwarzenegger, who was born in Austria, said last year he would like to "shoot for the top." However, he said he had not backed the amendment for personal reasons. He said: "I don’t think the idea is that all the push is because of me. I mean, I have never thought about running for president, and this is not my vision."
Schwarzenegger said he wasn’t being serious when he predicted in 1977 that he would become president. He said: "You’ve got to have a little bit of sense of humour about all this."
Arnold Schwarzenegger talks Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Arnold Schwarzenegger invited press into his personal trailer for an interview at the conclusion of his Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines shoot. The night before, he had just finished shooting his fight with the Terminatrix (Kristanna Loken), his final scene of principle photography. Now, he had a chance to relax.
We interrupted a chess game Schwarzenegger was playing with his four-year-old son, Christopher, on the kitchen table. Since he was losing, Schwarzenegger was happy to postpone the game. He put the wooden chess set aside and pulled up chairs for the reporters and even offered them beverages from his personal stash. He wore khaki shorts, revealing a scab on his left knee, as he reclined on a lounge chair.
Sitting on his lap during the interview, Christopher would tug on Schwarzenegger's ear, but Arnold just kept talking. When he got bored, Christopher opened up the trailer's video cabinet, the bottom part of a wood-paneled TV unit, and a quick glimpse inside revealed titles such as Grease, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Batman Returns (though not Batman and Robin) and, of course, Conan, the Barbarian.
The photo at right was provided exclusively for About.com by Warner Brothers. Click on the image for a larger version of T-800 protecting John Conner (Nick Stahl) and Kate Miller (Claire Danes) with a big-ass gun! Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines opens January 2, 2003.
So, how'd the big fight go yesterday? Everything has gone extraordinarily well, except we took a little bit more time, I think, than anyone expected because there were so many visual effects shots. It's going to be a real spectacle because we've never really seen a fight scene of two people, who are actually machines, one weighs two thousand pounds and one a thousand pounds. Every move you make towards any piece of wall or door or anything immediately breaks, so everything has to be rigged in such a way. For instance, there's a scene where I grab her by the jaw, lift her up in the air and then just throw her down on the ground. As soon as I throw her down into the ground, the tiles on the ground just break. And then I lift my foot up really high and just step down on her head and that then makes her whole head crush into below the floor of the bathroom. You have to rig all that stuff, and then you have to cut, and then you have to put the dummy down because I can't step on her head otherwise it breaks her nose. So you have to split it up, all those things.
Do you have to get over the chivalry aspect of you not wanting to hit women? No, because the thing is you realize that you're playing a machine and it's not really a female. It looks like a female but in fact it's not. And the male, it looks like a male, but it's not. He's just a machine. You know, they don't have the sex organs that identify man and woman and there's no reason for them having sex organs. They come to this world, there's specific reasons that they look the way they do, so they can blend in, and become just one of the human beings. That's the way she has arrived, so she can dress like a model or whatever, a woman, and be very disarming, but immediately when she touches you and then kills you and takes on your look and your personality and everything like that, she becomes very effective this way. It is a machine, two machines fighting, but visually, it makes it interesting because it is visually a man fighting against a woman. Then the woman actually ends up becoming extremely sophisticated and strong because her abilities of fighting are much greater than mine. I'm a model that still works well, but is definitely an outdated model versus her being the new model.
So, there's no Terminator sex? No, sorry to say. Again, I was robbed of the opportunity.
Was this harder for you than the previous Terminator films? I would say that in some ways it is harder, in other ways it easier. Easier because in the old days, if you fly through the room, you have to fly through the room. Now, it's totally a visual effects shot, so the risk of injury is now less. But then again, when we did the motorcycle stuff, there again was the high risk of injury because visual effects cannot do that. You have to do a lot of the motorcycle stuff yourself, which means that you drive very close to the camera truck, with the camera arm coming out in front of you, and sometimes not being very well coordinated, and hitting your motorcycle and stuff like that. So, I think that it's both. Sometimes it's more difficult and sometimes it's easier, but I've noticed in a lot of the stunts you don't have to do the kind of things that you used to do because now you can do a face replacement, head replacement and all those kinds of things with digital visual effects. But at the same time therefore, you can go much more extreme with the action. You literally can make up anything today, and say that's what I want to shoot. I want to shoot two motorcycles crashing and both of the guys fly twenty feet through the air and land on top of a swimming pool. You can make it up and exactly make it happen and show that visually, because of the special effects that you can do today.
Were you injured at all? Yeah, but little things, nothing major.
What's that scab from? This is from crawling around on the truck, on top of the truck, going from one side of the big crane, I jump on top of the crane, and go from one side, and climb over to the other in a low position back and forth twenty times while we're riding up and down the road, and I was refusing to put knee pads on, so that was my problem.
What do you think of the Hong Kong style of action films? Is that something you¹d like to incorporate into your work? I don't. No. I love the Hong Kong type of action movies but that only looks good for smaller guys. I think that the reason why that whole style was developed over there was because those guys were very puny guys. They are not powerful looking guys. They are also not powerful guys. There's no weightlifting champion coming out of Hong Kong. They may be in a lightweight division or something like that but normally you don't have really strong men coming out of the eastern countries. Russia, Hungary, and Bulgaria and Germany and stuff like that, England also, but not from over there. So in order for them to be equal in a fighting situation they had to learn a technique that small people can do that is as effective as a big guy having strength. That's where the martial arts came from and all those styles of fighting and all that. So therefore, it was always a smaller person's trick, that a Bruce Lee kind of guy, he looks very ordinary and small but is very quick, flies through the air, kicking and all this stuff looks great.
But when you are a big guy it doesn't look as good. When you are a big guy, people want you to pick up a guy, take him and throw him up against the wall. They think that that's a cool move. Like in Terminator. We throw them around. Grab them in the face, lifting up, then smashing them to the floor. They want to see that because they want to see the size of the body. They would be disappointed if a big guy resorts to those kinds of tactics because it means that he has no power, that he has to do those kinds of techniques. They are much more impressed with pure power for a big guy and to have tremendous speed and flying through the air.
Jackie Chan, he runs up the fence but that's the way he survives. The way Jackie Chan survives, the way we see it in the movies is because he's so fast. He runs up the fence, a regular fence with a wall over there and he jumps over there and does all those kinds of things. No matter who it is, a 500 pound gorilla cannot get him because he's too fast. So, he has to show that but I think for me, when you look at the tests, the people always like the more simple and brutal moves rather than the tricky kind of things. Even a guy like Charles Bronson, he had to also be much faster with the boxing and all, but as soon as you get to the bigger things, like John Wayne… John Wayne was always known for the big wind-up. Even though you don't wind up when you give someone a punch because you don't want to signal someone, people loved that when he was winding up, his eyes got bigger and then BOOM and the guy flies through the whole bar in a Western movie or something like that. Or fly over the bar and hit all the bottles and you see the reaction.
But you have to be very careful when you design that and we have always been very careful with our fight scenes not to confuse or have any martial arts stuff. There may be a head-butt in there or something like that, but in general we stayed away from all martial arts movements because it would be ridicules that a Terminator has to block. Block what? He's made of steel, so why would he be blocking? If she hits him in the head he can stand there, smile, then pick her up and throw her against the wall. As a matter of fact, there is a very funny scene in the movie where she eventually gets so fed up she grabs me between the legs. Not to grab me by the balls so to speak, but she's grabbing my legs to hold onto something and then ram me through a wall. I did a funny thing where she grabs me, you see this really close up where she just comes at me with full power and I look down like this and I go [SHRUGS. I mean, I have no balls to grab. Then she picks me up and rams me. So there are little moments like that in the movie and we play on that, the fact that we are different.
How do you see guys like Vin Diesel and The Rock changing the world of action films? Well, I don't think they changed the world of action films. I think that the technology has changed the way action movies are done now. The young directors that come up have a different vision on how these things should be done. The writers that are very hip writers, they don't write the old style any more. They set up the whole thing as just simply an action movie with not much of a story but as a visual kind of a spectacle. I thought that, for instance, XXX accomplished that. It did an extraordinary job visually and it was very entertaining to me and a lot of fun. I thought that breakthrough in a way that I have seen is going back but I mean they all are breakthroughs. T2 was a breakthrough. Matrix was a breakthrough. XXX is a breakthrough. As technology and as visual effects continue to grow and get more sophisticated, then you can do the stuff that he did. When you talk to Rob Cohen, he can tell you half the time Vin Diesel was never on the set when those things were shot because you don't need to have him on the set. It's with body and head replacements with visual effects work, you can do the whole thing. Jumping out of planes and the avalanche thing, it was great stuff that you can do today that you couldn't do five years ago. And so I think that is the great breakthrough, not of the guys that are just being put in. If it's me, the Terminator or Vin Diesel in his movie or Chares Bronson in his movie or Clint Eastwood… I mean, we then just play the heroes. But what you then see technology-wise, that's really what makes it go to the next level.
Is True Lies 2 next for you? I don't know. The script is ready to go. So, it's just really up to Cameron when he decides to do another movie. He's doing his things, his projects that he loves and plays around with that stuff, so whenever he's ready with it, he's ready with it. I'm sure Jamie Lee Curtis is ready with her new body. We've all seen the story where she came out with this thing and says, "It's all fake." My wife just did a story with her for her show because she said it's fascinating when someone is able to do that, to just say, "You know something? This was a little liposuction, some shots there, this is all bogus. In reality, this is what I look like." And she published a photograph of what she really looks like. It's wild. So, it's an interesting thing. Anyway, she definitely will be part of True Lies and Tom Arnold also. We're looking forward to that.
And Eliza Dushku? That I don't know.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: He's Back
Arnold Schwarzenegger/Collateral Damage
At 54, there is nobody in Hollywood quite like Arnold Schwarzenegger. More an icon than merely a movie star, Schwarzenegger is a unique phenomenon and a rare survivor. The ex-Mr. Universe from Austria is that rare superstar whose films are as huge internationally - even more so- than domestically. And while his previous 2 films were not huge in the US, he is still being paid an estimated $US30,000,000 for Terminator 3. Is there a place for Arnie in post-September 11? Time will tell, as his latest film, in which he plays a fireman hell bent on avenging the deaths of his wife and son, opens in the US next month. Paul Fischer met a jovial and talkative Arnold in Los Angeles:
At 54, Arnold Schwarzenegger still looks taut and youthful. Even despite heart surgery and, more recently, a recent motor bike accident. "I broke 6 ribs. My wife took my to the hospital right away because I knew that there was something feeling really uncomfortable when I inhaled. One of the ribs was kind of sticking into my lung. So I knew right then that I should go to the hospital. So they took X-rays. At first they thought it was four ribs, then a day later when my lugs filled up with blood, they did an MRI and they realized it was 6 ribs. And so it was obviously a very painful experience. You can't cough. You can't sneeze. You can't do anything. You just lie in a hospital bed and the only way you get out of it is by controlling the bed [with a remote] and then you can slowly get up. All those things that I hate such as having to be taken care of."
But it's his marriage to TV broadcaster and Kennedy relative Maria Shriver that remains the constant force in Arnie's life. The marriage has endured media scrutiny and the highs and lows of Schwarzenegger's career. They've been married for some 16 years and have four children, and so Schwarzenegger admits that being emotional on screen in his new film Collateral Damage, came easier to him than in the formative part of his career, referring to a pivotal moment in the film when he witnesses the deaths of his wife and son. "I think that I do it easier today than I could have done 20 years ago because I can relate to family much more and I'm more in touch with my emotions than 20 years ago. Also I am older. I think it was just THAT KIND of a scene is so powerful, when you sit there, feet away from where your family is lying - who you have seen minutes before alive and waving, smiling, full of joy and then to see them blow up. It's this extraordinary kind of thing. It's this kind of thing where you see from this Sept. 11 tragedy where you hear people say their loved one has just called them moments before the tragedy occurs. I'd have to say, I don't know if I had been 30 years old if I could have related as much."
September 11 was a turning point in the American psyche. Hollywood insisted it would be more responsible. Collateral Damage - initially due out last September - was put on hold, yet Arnold insists that the time is ripe for films such as his, to gain audience acceptance. "You never know 100% but I feel [September 11] would have no impact on any of the movies that we're seeing now. Several action movies being released since then have done extremely well, such as Black Hawk Down. I think that also after the terrorist attack, we've seen video sales and rentals skyrocket, especially of movies that dealt with terrorism. So I think with movies you can resolve those things much quicker, and give audiences satisfaction, at least in a fantasy way. "
Collateral Damage tells the story of family man and fire-fighter Gordon Brewer (Schwarzenegger), who is plunged into the complex and dangerous world of international terrorism after he loses his wife and child in a bombing credited to Claudio "The Wolf" Perrini (Cliff Curtis). Frustrated with the official investigation and haunted by the thought that the man responsible for murdering his family might never be brought to justice, Brewer takes matters into his own hands and travels to Columbia to track down the terrorist. He laughingly admits to taking on his project because of his wife. "I have to blame her for that because she brought it to me. She is friendly with one of the producers who gave her the script. There was a time when Harrison Ford was attached to it and when my wife hears there is someone else attached to something she is very competitive and chases the script down like a greyhound. Every day when I was reading scripts she kept bringing me this script and said I should really read it... and I said 'you read it, I've got all these other ones and if you think it's good then let me know.' "
Schwarzenegger loved the idea of a playing a fire-fighter [originally his character was a more mundane basketball coach]. After September 11, fire-fighters have taken on a greater resonance.
You play a firefighter in this film. Do you have any affinity for the firefighters? Have you met them? "14 days or so after September 11, I went to New York's Ground Zero to walk around that area where the twin towers went down and to visit the firefighters and rescue workers. Then I went to various different fire stations after that to visit the firefighters and to see all of the shrines that they had, because each of the places I visited had at least 10 or 15 of their officers who lost their lives in this tragedy. I have to say, I was so excited about the fact that I play a firefighter, because originally when they re-wrote the script, you know, there were people who said, "Firefighter? Isn't it better if you are a CIA guy?" And I said, "No. I think it would be more fun to play an ordinary man who saves lives." It's also heroic. I like the idea of playing the ordinary guy. So then there was this doubt about "Is this heroic enough?" Then when this happened on September 11, I think now the world has a whole different picture of firefighters. So I was very glad I chose that because it is a heroic profession. I remember I was big fan of "Backdraft." You could see the things people were doing."
It's another physically tough film for the star, but despite his heart surgery, Schwarzenegger had no qualms about getting rough and physical, surgery or otherwise. "First of all, the heart surgery was four and a half years ago. In April it's five years. Number 2, I think it was very clear that when you get your valve replaced you don't have to change your life. Especially if you have the right doctor. And he [the doctor] always said to me, "I'm gonna fix it so that you can continue doing your action movies." And I was like, "Then you are the doctor who is gonna do it." So when I heard that, you know, others would say you have to do this or you have to change tat or you can't smoke your Stogie any more" I said "Thank you very much, but no thank you." So I finally found the right guy. And the fact of the matter is nothing did change. I am on no medication. I didn't have to alter my life. The only thing that he suggested was that instead of pushing heavy weights and doing 10 reps, why don't you use half the weight and do 20 reps in weight training. So that's the only thing that I changed. Everything else, all my other activities stayed exactly the same." And Arnie still loves his cigars. "I smoke - not only because of the heart, but when you get older I think it is better to slow down - so I smoke one cigar a day now, where I used to smoke three. Then I cut it down to two, then I cut it down to one. Maybe eventually I cut it down more or make them smaller. But other than that, I do the action the same way, in the movies. I prepare for it the same way and the things that I feel I can't do or that might be too dangerous to do I let someone else do it. It's the same rule I always had."
Schwarzenegger may have lost some of his box office lustre, but that didn't stop the producers of Terminator III to fork up $US30,000,000 as the star's upfront fee. The actor feels no pressure with such a high salary, he says. "I feel good about it. I would feel much more pressure if I was getting NO money; I never feel pressure with money. I make the choices available for them to give me the money or to give me the back end, so it's up to them which way they want to go. I rather prefer to have them put in the budget of a movie and you know, see it on the screen rather than give it to me, but that's not the preference they have." Money notwithstanding, Schwarzenegger is excited about T3. "It's terrific and we expect shooting it on April 15."
Schwarzenegger still remains a larger-than-life influence on popular culture. Beyond movie stardom, the actor is also happy to keep his feet in politics. "I always love politics and will continue to be involved in my activities in the inner city, creating after school programs in inner city areas in 15 different cities, 400 different schools. I will continue working on that initiative because I am putting out a ballot next November in California which is an after school education and safety act to get $$550,000,000.00 for all school children in California, elementary school to after school program between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. because after school is very important so we can get rid of some of the youth violence and give parents time to float around. Those things, if I were to run for office, in two or three years I would know. First, I want to do a few more movies, especially those that I have signed deals with a year or two ago, so I have to be done and I am looking forward to doing films like Terminator 3." After that, we could see Arnie for President?
Schwarzenegger Shrugs Off Presidential Bid
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger may have joked about becoming president, but he said in an interview broadcast Sunday that he's never seriously considered it.
The Austrian-born Schwarzenegger said he is not the reason behind talk of amending the Constitution so immigrants can occupy the White House.
"I don't think the idea is that all the push is because of me. I mean, I have never thought about running for president, and this is not my vision," Schwarzenegger said on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
Schwarzenegger said when he predicted in 1977 that he would become president, he wasn't serious: "You've got to have a little bit of sense of humor about all this."
Several lawmakers have proposed amending the Constitution to let immigrants run for president after being citizens for 20 years. Schwarzenegger, who became a U.S. citizen in 1983, has said he supports such a measure.
A Web site, Amendforarnold.com, promotes the effort with photos of Schwarzenegger. The same people who are sponsoring the Web site have bought ads on California television, hoping to create a groundswell of support.
US senators opposed to amendment for possible Schwarzenegger presidential bid
Two US senators said on Sunday that they were opposed to an amendment to the Constitution to allow California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to run for president in 2008.
"I probably wouldn't" support a constitutional amendment to allow foreign-born people who have been US citizens for 20 years to run for president, Senator Rick Santorum, a Republican from Pennsylvania, said in NBC News' "Meet the Press" program.
Santorum said there were many "pressing issues to change than allowing people who are born overseas" to run for president. "So Idon't see any reason," he said.
Senator Joe Biden, a Democratic from Delaware, also expressed reluctance to support a constitutional amendment. "I want to help Arnold any way I can, but I'm incredibly reluctant to amend the Constitution for any purpose," he said.
Also on Sunday, Schwarzenegger said in ABC News' "This Week" program that he had never seriously considered running for president.
"I don't think the idea is that all the push (to change the Constitution) is because of me. I mean, I have never thought aboutrunning for president, and this is not my vision," he said.
Schwarzenegger said he was joking when he predicted in 1977 that he would become president. "You've got to have a little bit of sense of humor about all this," he said.
Several members of the US Congress have proposed amending the Constitution so that immigrants like Schwarzenegger, who was born in Austria and obtained US citizenship in 1983, to run for president after being American citizens for 20 years.
At the "Meet the Press" program, Biden also said Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton, wife of former president Bill Clinton, would become "the most difficult obstacle" for anyone to become the party's nominee in 2008.
He said Hillary Clinton, 57, who has said she plans to run for re-election to represent New York at the Senate in 2006, was likely to be the nominee and "is able to be elected president of the United States."
Schwarzenegger Could Win Again In California
Arnold Schwarzenegger could earn a second term in California, according to a poll by Field. 56 per cent of respondents say they would be inclined to support the current governor if he decides to run for re-election next year.
Schwarzenegger—a Republican—won California’s recall election in October 2003 with 48.7 per cent of the vote, and will head the state’s government for two years. 52 per cent of respondents would vote for Schwarzenegger in head-to-head contests against four prospective Democratic Party rivals.
The current governor holds a 15 per cent lead over movie director Rob Reiner. Schwarzenegger gets larger advantages against state treasurer Phil Angelides, attorney general Bill Lockyer and state controller Steve Westly.
The Rough Rider and the Terminator
What two larger-than-life, radical reformers have in common.
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER is on the verge of doing great things in California. Elected on a radical recall measure, California's governor is taking equally radical steps to mend the broken edifice of the state government. Proposing four sweeping reforms aimed at education, state pensions, the budget, and electoral districting, Schwarzenegger is taking party structures and legislators head on, using his bully pulpit to dictate the terms of the policy debate in the Golden State. More than anything, he relies on his celebrity and access to the media to shape public opinion and break the power of formidable California interests. In the past, others have employed this model to enact reforms in service of the public good; perhaps the greatest was Theodore Roosevelt.
Well before Roosevelt became a national icon as leader of the Rough Riders and the hero of San Juan Hill, he recognized how to use the media and a magnetic personality to uproot government corruption. He realized that public opinion could be harnessed to challenge even the most firmly entrenched forces of cronyism, waste, and decay.
In two posts, first serving as a Civil Service commissioner in President Benjamin Harrison's administration, and then as Police commissioner of the City of New York, Roosevelt achieved exceptional results by bringing issues directly to the people's attention. As Civil Service commissioner, Roosevelt risked being one of the most unpopular men in Washington. For five years, he energetically pursued recipients of patronage to ensure that only qualified office holders retained their federal government jobs. In spite
of massive resistance by both the dispensers and recipients of patronage, Roosevelt ultimately succeeded in shaping a civil service that was populated by qualified public servants. By relentlessly publicizing his activities, Roosevelt gained the support of many hardworking Americans who had no sympathy for well-paid slackers getting a free lunch on taxpayer funds.
As a New York City Police commissioner, Roosevelt was a media darling. His antics were followed almost daily by citizens who were thrilled to see a commissioner actually putting the public interest first. Under his watch, the New York police force was significantly transformed from a municipal protection racket into a professional law enforcement body. Much of the police hierarchy and several fellow commissioners fought Roosevelt tooth and nail. Likewise, many of the saloon owners and other interests that benefited from the old system strenuously opposed his efforts. Yet, through constant and widespread publicity, his endeavors won the hearts and minds of the people of New York. His reforms were enacted and the city unquestionably benefited.
Roosevelt brought this same vitality and dedication to the public good to his gubernatorial and presidential administrations. He stood up to the massive industrial monopolies, and empowered the broad interests of the people over the narrow ends of the oligarchs. He stood up to ranching and logging interests, and fought to set aside national parks. His charisma and media savvy were his greatest weapons. He believed that democracy could overcome arrogant and entitled interests. He believed that if he could get his message to the people, they would embrace his mantle of reform. He believed that such publicity could overcome the power of the party bosses and the power of the trusts. He was correct.
This same faith in democracy appears evident in Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger believes that if he takes his reforms to the people as ballot initiatives, they will pass. He believes that they will pass even if he is outspent 4-to-1 by his numerous and wealthy opponents. Like Theodore Roosevelt, the governor clearly believes that the people can recognize when a decaying structure is in need of a dramatic overhaul.
It would be daring for Schwarzenegger to fight for any one of the four reform initiatives he has championed, but to fight for all four at once is Rooseveltian. Taking on the state teachers' union and pushing for state pension reform ensures that he will face vigilant opposition from organized adversaries. Putting forth a gubernatorial budget-cutting power ensures that he will face vehement opponents in the legislature. Most importantly, fighting the state's gerrymandered districting system ensures that he will enrage the political parties.
Taken together, Schwarzenegger's reforms aim to: (1) force public educators to face greater accountability; (2) alleviate the state's long-term debt burden; 3) provide an executive recourse to break a legislative deadlock and ensure that a fiscally viable budget is passed; and (4) create competitive districts in which real, two-party competition is reintroduced.
Schwarzenegger's reforms aim at the core of California's public policy problems. Perhaps because of this, the governor's enemies will be organized and they will be dedicated to stopping him. He will face opposition from unions, from legislators, and from party leaders. He will face opposition from all of the lobbying groups
that benefit from the current system. Yet it is Schwarzenegger's faith, as it was Roosevelt's before him, that when given the chance, the greater electorate will choose to pursue the public good. Schwarzenegger may indeed fail, but as Roosevelt once famously said, "If he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly."
Schwarzenegger vows political end run
California's governor set a March 1 deadline for the legislature to act on reforms, or else. For the second time in three years, California politics are taking a turn toward the surreal.
In 2003, the recall election turned a referendum about Gov. Gray Davis into a carnival of the bizarre, considering porn stars and sumo wrestlers as would-be governors of America's largest state. This year, the winner of that contest is poised to turn to the same mechanism - the ballot initiative - in an attempt to at last fix the underlying problems that he believes led to the recall two years ago.
Taking up his role of action hero earlier this year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed four sweeping and controversial reforms, ranging from merit pay for teachers to privatizing state pensions. And he demanded that lawmakers tackle the issues by March 1 - or else he would take the battle to the ballot.
Tuesday, that deadline will pass with little progress, and Mr. Schwarzenegger will have to decide whether to ramp up an initiative campaign unlike any seen in American history - both for its intensity and scope.
Even for someone with Schwarzenegger's considerable skills of communication, the ballot presents enormous challenges. Not only would the governor be picking a fight with some of the most powerful groups in the state - from teachers to legislators - but he would also be pressed for time. If he wants to hold a November special election, he has only seven weeks to gather 1.2 million signatures for each item.
Should he fail, he risks casting himself as Jesse Ventura redux - an ultimately unsuccessful novelty governor who attempted to blow up the system and instead only alienated himself from everyone inside it. The opportunity for success, however, points to a potential watershed moment for direct democracy.
"I don't think we've ever had anybody call a special election to put so many of his initiatives on the ballot and completely bypass the legislature," says Bruce Cain, a political scientist at the University of California in Berkeley. "Arnold's innovation is to use initiatives as a tool of executive governance."
A special election is not yet a foregone conclusion. Schwarzenegger says he will continue negotiations with the Legislature. But the signs are not promising. Lawmakers have ignored Schwarzenegger's request to call a special session, and Schwarzenegger could begin collecting signatures as early as this week.
The result could be an election season without parallel - even for a state that has never been bashful about handing its most fundamental decisions over to voters. On a single ballot, voters would be asked to vote on linking teachers' pay to their students' performance, switching traditional pensions to stock-market accounts for new state employees, tying state spending to revenues to eliminate future deficits, and taking the redistricting process from legislators and giving it to a panel of retired judges.
"Any of these initiatives on its own would be among the most significant ever put before California voters," says Dan Schnur, a Republican strategist. "As a package there is no precedent."
What's more, a fall ballot could be flooded by dozens of other initiatives from groups seeking to ride Schwarzenegger's coattails or to oppose the governor's plans. Since the beginning of the year, more than 70 proposed ballot initiatives have been submitted to the state. Political wisdom suggests that voters tend to get confused by too many ballot initiatives, and when they become confused, they reactively vote "no."
That's one reason Schwarzenegger has been raising huge funds, some analysts say, predicting an epic battle for Californians votes this year in mall tours and TV ads that echo the frantic days of the recall campaign.
Clearly, Schwarzenegger's goal will be to simplify the debate to a single point: You elected me to clean up this mess and Legislature won't help, so give me the tools to do it. Already, there is some evidence that such a tactic might work. An early poll shows that each of his four measures holds a lead. Considering that Californians have defeated redistricting initiatives before, it's a positive sign.
Yet only one measure - merit pay - leads by a large margin. "That puts them on perilous ground, especially with well-funded opponents on the 'no' side," says Mark DiCamillo of the Field Poll in San Francisco.
It's hard to imagine a package of reforms that could generate stronger opposition. On one hand, Schwarzenegger is taking on the entire political establishment - including his own Republican Party - by taking redistricting out of the hands of state legislators. On the other, the remaining three reforms cut into core Democratic constituencies, from public-employee unions to advocates for the poor.
"This guy has really gone overboard," says David Sanchez, vice president of the California Teachers Association in Burlingame. "If anything, [the reforms] have made us want to go to war with this guy."
Some see Schwarzenegger's more combative attitude as a function of political necessity. He now has one year of experience and is still one year away from the 2006 gubernatorial election: This is his only opportunity to push tough reforms.
Yet there is evidence that, among Democrats at least, Schwarzenegger's aggressive new tactics have cast him a partisan figure, not a bipartisan problem solver. In his first year in Sacramento, when the "Governator" more often opted for backslaps than headlocks, his approval rating hit 65 percent.
This year, however, as California's erstwhile Conan appears to be sharpening his sword, his approval rating has dipped 10 points. Democrats have been the difference. In a state that often leans left, that is the danger of taking a rather conservative batch of reforms one analyst calls "Bush lite" to the people. "If he passes this reform package, he'll glide though to reelection," says Schnur. "If he's defeated, it's entirely possible that he would decide not to run for a second term."
Schwarzenegger Pushes Forward With Steroid Ban
California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has downplayed his own past use of steroids as he prepares to ban the muscle-building accelerant in the state.
The Terminator star admits he was legally prescribed experimental steroids during his early years by doctors, but has urged America's youth to shun the drugs and stick to natural food proteins as part of their bodybuilding program.
Arnie has previously vetoed a bill that called on high school coaches to teach student athletes the dangers of steroids, because performance enhancing food supplements had been included in the proposed legislation
So the former movie hardman is working on a new law to ban steroids--but encourage the consumption of strengthening foods.
He says, "I have no regrets about (steroids), because at that time, it was something new that came on the market, and we went to the doctor and did it under doctor's supervision.
"We were experimenting with it, it was a new thing.
"But people should take food supplements. People should be able to take the vitamins and all of the nutritious stuff that is available, but stay away from drugs."
Arnold Schwarzenegger's TV biopic not so strong
"Lightweight" may be the last adjective one would use to describe Arnold Schwarzenegger, physically anyway, but See Arnold Run, a new cable movie about the muscle-bound social climber, is a lightweight pure and simple. Especially simple. It's as substantial as a snowflake, though hardly as fascinating.
The film was made by Paramount for the Arts & Entertainment Network -- seemingly on a low budget and brief shooting schedule. This thing is less a movie than an Etch-a-Sketch doodle, a sloppy pop biography of the bodybuilder, movie star, and now California governor that largely ignores the "movie star" part and Arnold's unlikely reign as a box-office powerhouse.
Perhaps dressing up an actor to look like the Terminator, in scenes dramatizing the making of that movie, would require more legal work than the producers could afford, what with copyrights being the big cans of worms that they are. In any case, the film -- which premiered on A&E January 30th and will replay February 2nd, 3rd, and 6th -- gives us Arnold in his bodybuilding phase and his political spree, and we all know he was a movie star anyway.
If Arnold's "reign as a box-office powerhouse" was "unlikely," so was just about everything else the hulky-bulky Austrian-born optimist did. If there is a point to his story as the movie tells it, it's that nothing is really unlikely for anybody who is determined enough about making it happen. At least -- in America.
The screenplay cuts back and forth between parallel watershed moments in Arnold's life -- his attempt to win the title of Mr. Olympia for a fourth time in 1974 and his battle to become governor of California nearly 30 years later. Both feats were formidable; however silly-looking a "sport" bodybuilding is, winning the Olympia title four times in a row was unheard of.
Arnold's bid to become governor did not come about in the normal way. In California, the freak-show state, few things come about in the normal way. Arnold was one of a field of candidates seeking the office when the electorate demanded a chance to recall its governor, dull Gray Davis. The movie streamlines the election and reduces the competitors to two: Arnold vs. flinty feminist Arianna Huffington.
In addition to those two main story lines, both of which involve Arnold defying skeptics in triumph, there's a third -- hazy and subsidiary (and in black-and-white) in which Arnold is a wee little boy trying to defeat another kid in some sort of competition, with Arnold's imperious father standing by. In their superficial way, the makers of See Arnold Run ask "What made Arnold run?" and answer with that corny standby, "His daddy didn't love him."
See Arnold Run breaks with one old movie tradition but not very sensibly. It used to be that when real people were portrayed on the screen, they were played by actors who looked much better and more glamorous. That's flip-flopped here. The real Arnold certainly outshines Jurgen Prochnow, the grim and scary creature chosen to play him in this film. Prochnow does avoid doing another Arnold impersonation, but his attempts to seem playful are grisly.
Similarly, Mariel Hemingway, though she certainly has looked beautiful on the screen, seems a frowsy substitute for Maria Shriver, Arnold's press-wise wife and ambassador to the Kennedy clan. "Politics is hell -- worse than hell," she warns Arnold when he thinks about running. "I know. I am the media!" Do you think she really said that? (Shriver did have a solid career in network news.)
We follow Arnold through his various gaffes and crises as a campaigner. He puts down old suspicions about his father, Gustav, being a Nazi and tries to dismiss stories about his womanizing youth on the bodybuilding circuit. In one of innumerable flashbacks, a sexy groupie decorates Arnold's chest with chocolate syrup and then licks it off. Oh, the decadence!
The guy playing the young, partying Arnold, Roland Kickinger, is more handsome than Arnold at any age and actually projects real magnetism, unlike Prochnow and his burnt-toast persona. Some of the flashbacks are perky, but too much of the movie's running time is given over to scenes of tedious strategizing sessions by Arnold's political advisers. Few things in life are more boring than watching a meeting.
Some day there might be a smart, savvy political movie made about Arnold and his insistence on overachievement, but See Arnold Run is not it, and it's not awful enough to be fun either.
Schwarzenegger Remarks on Women Anger Many
Could Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have another ``woman problem'' on his hands? Schwarzenegger made headlines in recent months by deriding political opponents as ``girlie men'' and ridiculing a group of nurses at a women's conference. Now, an effort to paint the state's teachers as little more than a balky special interest group has angered many critics, who have begun to question why constituencies dominated by women have been subjected to such tough talk.
``He behaves like an arrogant patriarch with respect to women's occupations,'' said Rose Ann De Moro, executive director of the California Nurses Association. ``Nurses, teachers, home health workers - it's vulgar how he's run roughshod over them. He's arrogant, and he's a bully.''
As a candidate, Schwarzenegger was dogged by allegations that he had groped and humiliated women on movie sets. Since then, he has won over many skeptics by appointing women to key staff positions and relying on his wife, journalist and Democrat Maria Shriver, as his closest adviser.
But recently, as he has pressed for budget cuts and a broad package of government reform proposals, some of his turbocharged rhetoric has opened him to charges that his views on women are demeaning and macho.
In December, a small group of nurses gathered at a state women's conference to protest Schwarzenegger's decision to side with hospitals and delay changes to the state's nurse-to-patient ratio. With Shriver in the audience, Schwarzenegger responded to the protesters by saying, ``The special interests don't like me in Sacramento because I am always kicking their butts.''
The nurses union denounced his comment, and the attacks on the governor have only escalated since.
``The arrogance of taking on teachers, nurses and other professions where women are underpaid, overworked and vital to society is beyond the pale,'' said Jamie Court, president of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights and a frequent Schwarzenegger critic. ``But Arnold is someone who treats women as objects, so it's natural for him to have a tendency to disregard and devalue professions that are made up of women.''
The California Teachers Association and the California Nurses Association recently showed a willingness to take on the governor, staging protests and buying ads critical of his policies and proposals.
Schwarzenegger has denounced teachers for blocking improvements to education and has made merit-based pay for teachers a centerpiece of his government reform plan.
The teachers union is running radio commercials statewide criticizing the governor's proposals. Top officials of the organization, as well as some school administrators, also have accused Schwarzenegger of reneging on a promise to deliver $2 billion in revenue to schools.
The nurses uinon has taken out full-page newspaper ads suggesting Schwarzenegger's corporate campaign donors are the real special interests.
Last week, some 300 nurses and their supporters disrupted a movie premiere in Sacramento, booing Schwarzenegger as he posed with actors Vince Vaughn and The Rock.
``A mass movement is developing, and it's fascinating to see women coming together,'' DeMoro of the nurses union said.
Schwarzenegger supporters dismiss the notion that either his rhetoric or his reform efforts are overly harsh toward women or women's professions. Instead, they accuse unions of using the controversies to generate publicity.
``To say that women voters perceive Arnold Schwarzenegger as a bully because he's taking on a reform agenda belittles women,'' said Karen Hanretty, a spokeswoman for the California Republican Party.
``This is not about any individual profession. It's about exposing organized labor unions who have used their influence and set policies that have created multibillion-dollar deficits both statewide and nationally.''
Political analyst Tony Quinn said the danger for Schwarzenegger lies in the widespread public fondness for teachers and nurses.
``Their strength lies in the fact that people genuinely like their teachers and like nurses, even if they don't necessarily like their union,'' Quinn said.