Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger

Order: 38th Governor of California
Term of office: November 17, 2003Present
Predecessor: Gray Davis
Successor: Incumbent
Date of birth: July 30, 1947
Place of birth: Thal bei Graz, Austria
First Lady: Maria Shriver
Profession: Politician
Previous profession: Actor
Political Party: Republican
Lieutenant Governor: Cruz Bustamante

Template:Audio (born July 30, 1947) is an Austrian-American actor, Republican politician, and bodybuilder, currently serving as the 38th Governor of California. He was elected on October 7, 2003 in a special recall election which removed the sitting governor, Gray Davis, from office. Schwarzenegger was sworn in on November 17, 2003, to serve the remainder of Davis's term, which lasts until January 8, 2007. On September 16th, 2005 he officially announced that he will seek re-election in 2006 to a full term.

Nicknamed "The Austrian Oak" in his body-building days, and more recently "The Governator" (a play on the words "Governor" and "Terminator", after the film role), Schwarzenegger as a young man gained widespread attention as a highly successful bodybuilder, and later gained worldwide fame as a Hollywood action film star. Some of his most famous films include The Terminator in which he was quoted "I'll be back" and its sequels, Predator, True Lies, Kindergarten Cop, Total Recall, and his Hollywood breakthrough film Conan the Barbarian.

Contents

Personal background

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Arnold served in the Austrian army in 1965, completing the mandatory one year service required at the time for all 18 year old Austrian men. During this year he snuck off the base to compete in and win first place in the Jr. Mr. Europe bodybuilding competition.[1] He is pictured here with an M47 tank, which he was trained to operate.

Schwarzenegger was born in Thal bei Graz, Austria, four miles (6 km) from Graz, to a Gendarmerie-Kommandant policeman, Gustav Schwarzenegger (1907-1972) and his wife, the former Aurelia Jadrny (1922-1998).

After working in Romford, England for a short time, Arnold moved to the U.S. in 1968. At that time, he was not fluent in English, and had very little money. He became a U.S. citizen in 1983, although he has also retained his Austrian citizenship. During this time, he earned a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Superior where he graduated with degrees in international marketing of fitness and business administration in 1979.

In 1983 his autobiography, Arnold: The Education of a Body-Builder was published. In 1986, Schwarzenegger married TV journalist Maria Shriver, niece of the late President of the United States John F. Kennedy. The couple have four children: daughters Katherine and Christina, and sons Patrick and Christopher. Together, the couple own a home in gated Bel Air, California as well as at the fabled Kennedy Compound in Massachusetts.

His distinctive and oft-imitated accent has led many entertainers and pundits to refer to him simply as "Ah-nuldt".

Bodybuilding career

Schwarzenegger first gained fame as a bodybuilder. His well-developed physique earned him the moniker "The Austrian Oak" (or "The Styrian Oak") and won him the titles of Junior Mr. Europe, Mr. World, IFBB Mr. Universe (1969), NABBA Mr. Universe (four times, 1967-1970), and Mr. Olympia (seven times, 1970-1975 and 1980). The seven wins at Mr. Olympia was a record set in 1980, cementing him as a legend of the sport. The record would remain until Lee Haney won his eighth straight Olympia in 1991. Schwarzenegger is considered among the most important figures in the history of bodybuilding, and his legacy is commemorated in the Arnold Classic annual bodybuilding competition.

He posed frontally nude for some photographs, for example this photo.

Schwarzenegger has admitted to using performance-enhancing anabolic steroids whilst they were legal, writing in 1977 that "[steroids] were helpful to me in maintaining muscle size while on a strict diet in preparation for a contest. I did not use them for muscle growth, but rather for muscle maintenance when cutting up." However, some bodybuilders who used the same steroid cocktails as Schwarzenegger in the 1970s dispute the notion that they were used merely for "muscle maintenance". Even Schwarzenegger has called the drugs "tissue building." (see [2])

In 1999, Schwarzenegger sued Dr. Willi Heepe, a German doctor who publicly predicted an early death for the bodybuilder based on a link between steroid use and later heart problems. Because the doctor had never examined him personally, Schwarzenegger collected a DM 20,000 ($12,000 USD) libel judgment against him in a German court. In 1999 Schwarzenegger also sued and settled with Globe Magazine, a U.S. tabloid which had made similar predictions about the bodybuilder's future health. As late as 1996, a year before open heart surgery to replace an aortic valve, Schwarzenegger publicly defended his use of anabolic steroids during his bodybuilding career. (see [3])

Schwarzenegger was born with a bicuspid aortic valve; a normal heart has tricuspid valves. According to a spokesman, Schwarzenegger has not used anabolic steroids since 1990 when they were made illegal (see [4]). In bodybuilder slang, steroids are sometimes called "Arnolds" (see [5]).

Schwarzenegger has remained a prominent face in the bodybuilding sport long after his retirement, in part due to his ownership of gyms and fitness magazines. He has presided over numerous contests and awards shows. For many years he wrote a monthly column for the bodybuilding magazines Muscle & Fitness and Flex. Shortly after being elected Governor, he was appointed executive editor of both magazines in a largely symbolic capacity. The magazines agreed to donate $250,000 a year to the Governor's various physical fitness initiatives. The magazine MuscleMag International has a monthly two page article on him and refers to him as "The King".

Schwarzenegger's first political appointment was to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, on which he served from 1990 to 1993. He was nominated by George H. W. Bush, who called him "Conan the Republican".

In 2003 two African-American bodybuilders came forward claiming that Schwarzenegger has a history of making racist comments. Schwarzenegger has allegedly said, "If you gave these Blacks a country to run, they would run it down the tubes" (see [6]).

Acting career

Roles

Growing bored with professional bodybuilding, which he began to view as a "go nowhere" career, Schwarzenegger began to pursue a career as an actor. His uniquely muscular appearance earned him several movie roles. His first film appearance was as Hercules in Hercules in New York (1970), credited under the name Arnold Strong, although his accent in the film was so thick that his lines were dubbed. He appeared in The Long Goodbye, and more notably Stay Hungry, for which he was awarded a Golden Globe. Schwarzenegger came to the attention of more people in the documentary Pumping Iron (1977), elements of which were dramatized. In 1991, Schwarzenegger purchased the rights to this film, outtakes, and associated still photography. Initially he had trouble breaking into films because agents disliked his surname, muscles, and accent.[7] Though Schwarzenegger refuses to discuss his plastic surgery ("You are confusing me with Cher," he told People Magazine in 2002), citing before and after photos, critics allege he has undergone procedures on his eyes and chin, and has received at least one facelift (see [8]).

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The Terminator, starring Schwarzenegger (1984)

Schwarzenegger's breakthrough film was Conan the Barbarian (1982), and this was cemented by a sequel, Conan the Destroyer (1984). As an actor, he is best-known as the title character of director James Cameron's android thriller The Terminator (1984). Schwarzenegger's acting ability (described by one critic as having an emotional range that "stretches from A almost to B") has long been the butt of many jokes; he retains a strong Austrian accent in his speech even in roles which do not call for such an accent. However, few of the fans of his work seem to care. He also made a mark for injecting his films with a droll, often self-deprecating sense of humor, setting him apart from more serious action heroes such as Sylvester Stallone, his most prominent contemporary. (As an aside, his alternative-universe comedy/thriller Last Action Hero featured a poster of the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day which, in that alternate universe had Sylvester Stallone as its star; a similar in-joke in Twins suggested that the two actors might one day co-star, something which never came to pass).

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Predator, starring Schwarzenegger (1987)

Following his arrival as a Hollywood superstar, he made a number of commercially successful films: Commando (1985), Raw Deal (1986), The Running Man (1987), and Red Heat (1988). In Predator (1987), another commercially successful film, Schwarzenegger led a cast which included future Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura (Ventura also appears in Running Man) and future Kentucky Gubernatorial Candidate Sonny Landham. Twins, (1988) a comedy with Danny DeVito, was a change of pace. Total Recall (1990), at that time the most expensive film ever, netted Schwarzenegger $10 million and 15% of the gross, and was a widely praised, thought-provoking science-fiction script behind his usual violent action. Kindergarten Cop (1990) was another comedy.

Schwarzenegger's critical and commercial high-water mark was Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). His next film project, the self-aware action comedy Last Action Hero, (1993), had the misfortune to be released opposite Jurassic Park, and suffered accordingly. Schwarzenegger's career never again achieved quite the same prominence, his aura of box-office invincibility suffering. True Lies (1994) was a popular sendup of spy films, and saw Schwarzenegger reunited with director James Cameron, whose own career had taken off with The Terminator. It was followed by the popular, albeit by-the-numbers Eraser (1996), and Batman & Robin (1997), his final film before taking time to recuperate from a back injury. Although Batman & Robin was a famous disaster, Schwarzenegger emerged largely unscathed. Several film projects were announced with Schwarzenegger attached to star including the remake of The Planet of the Apes, a new film of I am Legend and a World War II film scripted by Quentin Tarantino that would have seen Schwarzenegger finally play an Austrian. Instead he returned with End of Days (1999) - an unsuccessful and atypically dark attempt to broaden his acting range - The 6th Day (2000) and Collateral Damage (2002), none of which came close to recapturing his former prominence. He starred in the popularly received Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) and was slated to star in a possible True Lies 2 and Conan the King, but his duties as California governor have likely put his movie career on hold until at least 2007, though producers repeatedly claim he will make a small appearance in a fourth Terminator film. His last film appearance to date was a cameo appearance in the 2004 remake of Around the World in 80 Days, notable for featuring him onscreen with action star Jackie Chan for the first time.

Filmography

             

Political career

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Schwarzenegger and son Patrick at Edwards Air Force Base, California in December 2002.

Political affiliation

Schwarzenegger is a Republican, unusual among the often heavily Democratic Hollywood community. He describes himself as fiscally conservative and socially moderate (i.e. he is pro-choice, supports stem cell research and some gay rights issues). Schwarzenegger backed Republican President Ronald Reagan, whose footsteps he's following—movie star turned politician—while Reagan was in office, and campaigned for George H.W. Bush in 1988. However, he chastised fellow Republicans during the impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998. Sensing an opportunity to affect the outcome of the 2004 Presidential race, Schwarzenegger campaigned in Ohio for Republican George W. Bush in the closing days of the campaign.

In an interview on October 29, 2002, with MSNBC's Chris Matthews at Chapman University, Schwarzenegger explained why he is a Republican:

"Well, I think because a lot of people don't know why I'm a Republican, I came first of all from a socialistic country which is Austria and when I came over here in 1968 with the presidential elections coming up in November, I came over in October, I heard a lot of the press conferences from both of the candidates Humphrey and Nixon, and Humphrey was talking about more government is the solution, protectionism, and everything he said about government involvement sounded to me more like Austrian socialism.
Then when I heard Nixon talk about it, he said open up the borders, the consumers should be represented there ultimately and strengthen the military and get the government off our backs. I said to myself, what is this guy's party affiliation? I didn't know anything at that point. So I asked my friend, what is Nixon? He's a Republican. And I said, I am a Republican. That's how I became a Republican."

It had been known since the 1990s that Schwarzenegger was interested in public office; this was jokingly referenced in the 1993 Sylvester Stallone film, Demolition Man, where a future America passed a constitutional amendment to allow naturalized Americans like Schwarzenegger to become President of the United States, and that film has reference to a "Schwarzenegger Presidential Library"."

Regarding a run for public office, in 1999, he told Talk magazine that "I think about it many times." He also said, "The possibility is there because I feel it inside. I feel there are a lot of people standing still and not doing enough. And there's a vacuum."

Venturing into politics

Schwarzenegger was appointed Chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in the administration of George H. W. Bush from 1990 to 1993. During that time, Schwarzenegger traveled across the U.S. promoting physical fitness to kids and lobbying all 50 governors in support of school fitness programs. "He would hit sometimes two or three governors in a day in his own airplane, at his own expense, somewhere around $4,000 an hour," said George Otott, his chief of staff at the time. "When he walked in, it wasn't about the governor, it was about Arnold," said Otott, a retired Marine. "He has what we in the military call a command presence. He becomes the number one attention-getter."

He later served as Chairman for the California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under Governor Pete Wilson. Schwarzenegger scored his first real political success on November 5, 2002, when Californians approved his personally crafted and sponsored Proposition 49, the "After School Education and Safety Program Act of 2002", an initiative to make state grants available for after-school programs.

2003 California recall

For years, Schwarzenegger had discussed with friends, potential donors, advisors and political allies a possible run for high political office; on April 10, 2003, for example, he met with Republican political operative Karl Rove to discuss a future campaign. In the months leading to the 2003 California recall, Schwarzenegger was widely rumored to be considering a run at becoming Governor of California. In the July 2003 issue of Esquire Magazine magazine, he said, "Yes, I would love to be governor of California ... If the state needs me, and if there's no one I think is better, then I will run." When a petition to recall Democratic governor Gray Davis qualified for the ballot on July 24, Schwarzenegger left many wondering whether he would jump into the contest. Schwarzenegger was just wrapping up a promotional tour for Terminator 3 and said he would announce his decision on whether to run on August 6 on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

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Crowd watching Schwarzenegger inauguration

In the days and even hours leading up to the show's taping, political experts and insiders concluded that Schwarzenegger was leaning against running in California's October 7 recall election. Even his closest advisors said he was probably not going to run. Rumors leading up to the announcement said that his wife, Maria Shriver, a Kennedy family Democrat, was against his running, and he wanted her approval in order to run. When announcing his candidacy on the Tonight Show, he joked, "It's the most difficult [decision] I've made in my entire life, except the one I made in 1978 when I decided to get a bikini wax". Ultimately, Shriver said she would support Schwarzenegger no matter what he chose, so he decided to run. Schwarzenegger told Leno, "The politicians are fiddling, fumbling and failing. The man that is failing the people more than anyone is Gray Davis. He is failing them terribly, and this is why he needs to be recalled and this is why I am going to run for governor."

As a candidate in the recall election, Schwarzenegger had the most name recognition in a crowded field of candidates, but he had never held public office and his political views were unknown to most Californians. His candidacy was immediate national and international news, with media outlets dubbing him the "Governator" (referring to The Terminator movies, see above) and "The Running Man" (the name of another of his movies), and calling the recall election "Total Recall" (ditto) and "Terminator 4: Rise of the Candidate" (referring to his movie Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines). Schwarzenegger was quick to make use of his well-known one-liners, promising to "pump up Sacramento, California" (the state capital) and tell Gray Davis "hasta la vista". At the end of his first press conference, he told the audience "I'll be back." Schwarzenegger looked to follow in the footsteps of former California governor and one-time movie star Ronald Reagan. However, due to his status as a naturalized citizen, he would not be eligible to seek the Presidency unless the Constitution were to be amended (as proposed in 2000 by Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), and in July 2003 (the Equal Opportunity to Govern Amendment) by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)). Among his campaign team were Democrat actor Rob Lowe, billionaire Warren Buffett, and former Nixon and Reagan aide George Shultz.

During the campaign, allegations of sexual and personal misconduct were raised against Schwarzenegger (see Gropegate). Within the last five days before the election, news reports appeared in the Los Angeles Times recounting allegations of sexual misconduct from several individual women, sixteen of whom eventually came forward with their personal stories. Chronologically, they ranged from Elaine Stockton, who claimed that Schwarzenegger groped her breast at a Gold's Gym in 1975 (she was 19 at the time), to a 51 year old woman who said that he pinned her to his chest and spanked her shortly after she met him in connection with production of his film, "The Sixth Day", in 2000. Schwarzenegger admitted that he has "behaved badly sometimes" and apologized, but also stated that "a lot of (what) you see in the stories is not true". This came after a magazine interview from the same era (1975) surfaced in which Schwarzenegger discussed attending sexual orgies and indulging in drugs like marijuana and cocaine (see [9], [10], [11]).

Allegations printed on the front page of The Los Angeles Times, based on selective quotation, which Schwarzenegger claimed not to recall, were also made that he at one time admired Adolf Hitler and had praised him as a great propagandist. However the full text of the statement from which the quotation was taken significantly reduces the credibility of the allegations. Although Schwarzenegger's father was in fact a member of the Nazi party, Schwarzenegger has been a strong supporter of various Jewish groups, and has denounced the principles of the fascist German regime, saying "I have always despised everything that Hitler stands for".

March 1992 Spy Magazine article mentions a story confirmed by "a businessman and longtime friend of Schwarzenegger's" -- that in the '70s Arnold "enjoyed playing and giving away records of Hitler's speeches."[12] Arnold supported the campaign of his friend, Kurt Waldheim, former UN chief and a former Austrian politician who was accused of war crimes during World War II in Yugoslavia, which resulted in both Waldheim, and his wife, Elisabeth, both of whom belonged to the Nazi Party being excluded from entering the USA. Schwarzenegger's name remained on Waldheim's campaign posters, even after allegations of Waldheim's war crimes were brought to light. Waldheim was also invited to Arnold's wedding with Maria Shriver, but declined (see [13]).

These allegations were brought up mainly in the context of his campaign, but they continue to be occasionally used by some critics. Garry Trudeau, the cartoonist behind the comic strip Doonesbury, combined the allegations by nicknaming Schwarzenegger "Herr Gröpenführer" and depicting Schwarzenegger as a huge, groping hand in his artwork.

A slightly smaller scandal arose when campaign ads were shown to have citizens of California out of focus, but products from campaign contributers clear. This got little press but still angered many. On October 7, 2003, the 2003 California recall resulted in Governor Gray Davis being recalled with 55.4% of the Yes vote. Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California under the second question on the ballot with 48.6% of the vote, defeating Democrat Cruz Bustamante, fellow Republican Tom McClintock and others. In total, Arnold won the election by about 1.3 million votes.

He was sworn into office on November 17, 2003. Schwarzenegger's inauguration was opened by Vanessa Lynn Williams, his co-star from Eraser, singing the National Anthem. Hollywood attendees included Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Dennis Miller and Rob Lowe (Only Miller is a Republican). The Schwarzenegger children joined others in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, then Maria Shriver spoke and held the Bible while Schwarzenegger was sworn into the office of Governor. He spoke briefly: "Today is a new day in California. I did not seek this office to do things the way they've always been done. What I care about is restoring your confidence in your government... This election was not about replacing one man. It was not replacing one party. It was about changing the entire political climate of our state."

Governorship

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Arnold Schwarzenegger, President George W. Bush, and Gray Davis speak to firefighters on November 4, 2003.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bavaria's minister president Edmund Stoiber

In his first few hours in office Schwarzenegger fulfilled his campaign promise to repeal an unpopular 200% increase in vehicle license fees undertaken to fund the state's budget. The increase was a restoration to 1998 levels. On his first full day in office, Schwarzenegger proposed a three-point plan to address the budget woes. First, Schwarzenegger proposed floating $15,000,000,000 (USD) in bonds. Second, he urged voters to pass a constitutional amendment to limit state spending. Third, he sought an overhaul of workers' compensation. Schwarzenegger also called the state legislature into a special session and said that spending cuts would also be necessary. He initiated the cuts by agreeing to serve as governor with no salary, a savings of $175,000 (USD) per year.

To fulfill the first two points, he urged California voters to pass Proposition 57 and Proposition 58 in the March 2, 2004 election, which authorized the sale of $15 billion in bonds and mandated balanced budgets, respectively. Despite initially tepid support from the public, the combination of heavy campaigning by Schwarzenegger, endorsements from a number of leading Democrats, and warnings about the dire consequences should the propositions fail to pass, led to overwhelming votes in favor of the two propositions. Prop. 57 passed with 63.3% of the votes in favor and Prop. 58 passed with 71.0% in favor. He accomplished the third point when he signed a workers' compensation reform bill on April 19, 2004. Schwarzenegger convinced the Democratic-controlled state legislature to approve the package by threatening to take the issue directly to state voters in a November ballot initiative if the legislature did not act.

Schwarzenegger was later criticized for reneging on his campaign pledges not to take money from special interests and for failing to answer directly the sexual harassment allegations raised by the Los Angeles Times immediately preceding the recall election. However, Schwarzenegger made a point shortly after becoming governor of voluntarily attending a training course conducted by the state Attorney General's office on preventing sexual harassment (along with several members of his senior staff). Schwarzenegger continues to collect campaign contributions from private interests (see [14]) at a greater rate than any politician in California history, including Gray Davis, whom he criticized on that very issue (see [15]).

In February 2004 when San Francisco city mayor Gavin Newsom ordered a change in the certificate application documents to allow for same-sex marriages, Governor Schwarzenegger opposed the move as being beyond the powers of the mayor, but also said that he supports gay rights and has expressed support for a law to grant civil unions to gay couples. In 2005 when he vetoed a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriages he defended his actions by saying that California voters had passed an initiative banning such recognition and that he supports that state's domestic parntership law that gives same-sex couples many of the same rights as a heterosexual married couple.

Also in February 2004, he declined amnesty to convicted murderer Kevin Cooper who had asked him for clemency in his death penalty sentence. Nevertheless, Cooper's planned execution was stayed by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals pending a revisiting of evidence. The first execution under his administration was that of Donald Beardslee. Austrian Green Party spokesman Peter Pilz later called for Schwarzenegger to be stripped of his Austrian citizenship. Pilz claimed that Austrian law forbids any Austrian citizen from taking part in or ordering executions. However, Schwarzenegger does not appear to be in any danger of losing his Austrian citizenship.

The governor has granted clemency to a number of convicted felons – more than Democrat predecessor Gray Davis, who presided over numerous executions. The power of clemency is often controversial. After a longer period of consideration than is usual, on December 12, 2005, Schwarzenegger denied clemency to quadruple murderer Stanley Tookie Williams, who was executed on December 13. In a statement [16] Schwarzenegger argued not on the grounds that Williams' actions were beyond atonement: instead he appeared to acknowledge that atonement was possible, but Williams had not done so, Schwarzenegger stating that "the one thing [apologising for the four murders he committed] that would be the clearest indication of complete remorse and full redemption is the one thing Williams will not do".

Despite expectations that Schwarzenegger would be vulnerable to opposition critics once taking office, his early governorship showed some successes. He has dealt successfully with California politicians as diverse as John Burton on the left to Tom McClintock on the right. At the end of May, 2004 the Field poll put his popularity at 65%, the highest for a California governor in 45 years, including 41% of Democrats, party adherents of his opposition. By comparison, former United States President Ronald Reagan, known as "the Great Communicator," never hit 60% approval while serving as California governor. (see [17]) In March, 2004 libertarian policy research foundation, The Cato Institute, rated him 1st in their fiscal policy report card of the nation's governors.

In July 2004, however, Schwarzenegger and the state legislature deadlocked, failing to approve the state budget on time. Trying to rouse public support for his position, he compared lawmakers to kindergartners who need a "timeout," and in a rally of supporters called his budget opponents "girlie men" (a reference to a long-running Saturday Night Live skit parodying Schwarzenegger). He said about the legislators: "They are part of a bureaucracy that is out of shape, that is out of date, that is out of touch and that is definitely out of control in Sacramento. They cannot have the guts to come out there in front of you and say, 'I don't want to represent you. I want to represent those special interests: the unions, the trial lawyers.' ... if they don’t have the guts, I call them girlie-men. They should get back to the table and they should finish the budget." The remark became national news and was not received well by his opponents, including gay advocacy and feminist groups who labeled it homophobic and sexist, in spite of his earlier support for gay rights (see the Gavin Newsom incident above), not to mention the legislators themselves. Others however, were quick to point out that the critics actually were expressing a sentiment of latent homophobia themselves because they automatically connected the phrase "girlie-men" with homosexuals. His supporters made "girly men" T-shirts and the Governor continued to use the term, including when he addressed the Republican National Convention in NYC, calling critics of the current U.S. economic situation "economic girlie men".

Despite what some viewed as political snags during the summer, the Field polls released in August and October 2004 showed that Schwarzenegger's approval rating remained at 65%. Additionally, in October, for the first time in four years a plurality of Californians felt the state was "on the right track". However, when asked if they would support Schwarzenegger if he could run for president, 50% said they would oppose, while only 26% said they would support the governor in a presidential bid (see [18]).

Spring 2005

In the spring of 2005, polls began showing Schwarzenegger's approval ratings had dropped to between 40-49%.[19] [20] [21] [22] On June 13, 2005, Schwarzenegger called a statewide special election for November 8, 2005, to vote on a series of reform measures he initially proposed in his 2005 State of the State address. A non-partisan Field poll released a week later showed his support had dropped to 37%, one of the lowest approval ratings for any California governor and barely above the support of recalled former Governor, Gray Davis (see [23]).

Schwarzenegger's spokesman responded that Schwarzenegger had not yet had enough time to explain his proposals to voters. The Legislature also shared low approval ratings, with just 24% of voters saying they approve of the job lawmakers have been doing. That represents a drop of 10% since February. The governor has responded that the poll sends a "very clear message to us. They are saying they want us to work together." He has also responded "I know popularity goes up and down... as soon as you start making decisions and strong decisions, sometimes they're not popular decisions." (see [24]). (video, right side)

Republicans have claimed that the drop in popularity was due to a multi-million dollar ad campaign by various groups such as unions for nurses, police and firefighters, who opposed his plans for the state pension and his administration's lawsuit to delay implementation of a nurse-to-patient staffing ratio plan. In late June 2005, another non-partisan Field Poll had similar numbers as the earlier one, finding that 57% of California voters are not inclined to elect Schwarzenegger to a second term as Governor in 2006 (see [25]), [26]). When asked about the lessons of the poll, Schwarzenegger has responded "People make mistakes sometimes, and I think that we learn. [...] These are very clear messages that we must work together, and so I am looking forward to that."

To some degree, Governor Schwarzenegger's unpopularity has had to do with his confrontations with three popular labor groups: nurses, teachers, and firefighters. Some unions and activists reacted with anger (see [27], [28], [29], [30]), and others with humor (see [31], [32], [33]).

Summer 2005

Accusation of conflict of interest

While governor, Schwarzenegger continued to hold a position of executive editor of two American Media magazines. He announced in March 2004 that his $250,000 a year salary would be donated to charity. Schwarzenegger has an extensive history with the magazines and was frequently their star in his body-building days. As executive editor, he produces monthly columns based on his body-building history.

Schwarzenegger drew fire when a second contract, a consulting position, was subsequently discovered in SEC filings, by the L.A. Times. This second contract would net him an estimated $8,000,000 (USD) over the next five years (see [34]). His consulting duties are not clear, except that the job allegedly "takes up little time."

The New York Times further reported (on July 15) that under the five-year November 2003 contract, signed two days before his inauguration as Governor, Oak Productions, Mr. Schwarzenegger's company, is to receive 1 % of the net print advertising revenues of Weider Publications. But the payment must be at least $1,000,000 (USD) per year. Mr. Schwarzenegger has also been granted phantom equity, a way of sharing in the growth of the value of the company. The equity could become worth 1 % of the company's value, which was stated at the time of the contract as $520,000,000 (USD)" (see [35]).

This contract was seen as a conflict of interest by critics, who note that the magazines receive much of their revenue from advertisements for dietary supplements, a government-regulated industry affected by Schwarzenegger's veto (September 2004) of a bill that would ban schools from accepting sponsorships from firms that make performance-enhancing dietary supplements. In Schwarzenegger's reason for his veto, he drew a distinction between performance-enhancing dietary supplements and steroid usage, which he says is what needs to be prevented in high school students. (see [36]). Supporters point out that he did sign into law a bill that prohibited companies from selling the supplements to minors. Following the accusation, Schwarzenegger responded he would end the contracts with the magazines.

In August 2005, the Washington Post reported that American Media had paid former TV actress Gigi Goyette, $20,000 (USD) to keep silent about a seven-year extramarital affair Schwarzenegger had with her beginning in 1975, when Goyette was 16 years old (see [37]). Since the age of consent in California is 18 years, Schwarzenegger may have committed statutory rape. In addition, American Media's knowledge of the Goyette affair put it in a position of being able to blackmail Schwarzenegger, providing further reason for Schwarzenegger to align his interests with theirs.

Also in August, the Los Angeles Times reported that five non-profit organizations had collected $3,000,000 (USD), chiefly from large businesses, in order to help defray Schwarzenegger's personal and political expenses, including the rent on the $6,000-a-month hotel suite that Schwarzenegger uses when in Sacramento (see [38]). The governor's spokeman subsequently reported that Schwarzenegger had directed the disclosure of the contributors to the "residence fund". (see [39])

Fall 2005

On September 29, 2005, Schwarzenegger vetoed the California gay marriage bill after it had passed both houses of the legislature (see [40], [41]). He stated that he vetoed the bill because he felt that it was in oppostion to the will of the voters as expressed by Proposition 22, that had passed in 2000 with 61.4% of the vote. Prop 22 stated that only marriages between a man and a woman would be recognized in the state of California.

On September 16th, 2005 Governor Schwarzenegger announced that he would seek a second term. Despite his initially high approval ratings, a Field Poll conducted the week before indicated that only 36% of California voters were inclined to reelect him.

Schwarzenegger vetoed SB 469 (Bowen) October 7. It would have required people circulating petitions to say whether the signature gatherers are volunteers or are being paid to collect signatures.

Running up to the November special election, Schwarzenegger campaigned heavily throughout the state for his slate of propositions. Through an organization called "Join Arnold", tens of millions of dollars were funneled into the state, mostly from corporate interests, to fund the campaign. Schwarzenegger even reportedly spent 7 million dollars of his own money. Schwarzenegger characterized the four propositions as being key to his reform agenda. State unions and other groups opposed to the measures spent large sums of money opposing Schwarzenegger. Total spending by both sides leading up to the election was estimated at $300 million.

Schwarzenegger made personal appearances at numerous so-called "town hall meeting" events throughout the state to promote the measures. In reality these events were highly choreographed, and typically featured Hollywood-style set lighting and coordinated electronic displays. A group of four or so "ordinary citizens", pre-selected by local Republican operatives, would appear on stage with Schwarzenegger to ask him questions at the appropriate time. The time and location of these events would not be released to the public until two hours in advance, to limit the time anti-Schwarzenegger forces had to organize protests.

In the 2005-11-08 special election, California voters dealt a devastating blow to Schwarzenegger by soundly rejecting all four ballot initiatives that Schwarzenegger had proposed to reform the state government. All propositions were defeated by a margin of at least 7 percentage points. The two propositions most key to Schwarzenegger's agenda, propositions 76 and 77, were defeated by 24 and 19 points respectively.

The defeat left Schwarzenegger significantly weakened politically, depriving him of the one source of leverage he had against the Democratic legislature. Many took to calling him "the One-terminator", a play on his popular role as "the Terminator" in films, implying that his chances of winning re-election had been diminished.

In the aftermath of the election, Schwarzenegger has moved back to the center. He has hired a former aide of Gray Davis as his chief of staff, and is working with California State Senate Majority Leader Don Perata for development of a bond, estimated in the billions of dollars, to accelerate construction of infrastructure such as freeways and waterworks.

Electoral History

Miscellaneous

  • In honor of its most famous son, Schwarzenegger's home town of Graz had named its soccer stadium after him. The Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium, now officially titled Stadion Graz-Liebenau, is the home of both Grazer AK and Sturm Graz. Following the Stanley Tookie Williams execution and after street protests in his home town, several local politicians began a campaign to remove Schwarzenegger's name from the stadium. Schwarzenegger responded, saying that to "to spare the responsible politicians of the city of Graz further concern, I withdraw from them as of this day the right to use my name in association with the Liebenauer Stadium". Graz officials removed Schwarzenegger's name from the stadium in December 2005. [42]
  • In 2005 Peter Pilz from the Austrian Green Party in parliament demanded to revoke Schwarzenegger's Austrian citizenship. This demand was based on article 33 of the Austrian citizenship act that states: "A citizen, who is in the public service of a foreign country, shall be deprived of his citizenship, if he heavily damages the reputation or the interests of the {Austrian} Republic" [43]. Pilz claimed that Schwarzenegger's actions in support of the dealth penalty (prohibited in Austria under Protocol 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights) had indeed done heavy damage to Austria's reputation. Schwarzenegger justified his actions by referring to the fact that his only duty as Governor of California was to prevent an error in the judicial system. "Schwarzenegger has a lot of muscles, but apparently not much heart," said Julien Dray, spokesman for the Socialist Party in France, where the death penalty was abolished in 1981.
  • Because Schwarzenegger opted in 1997 for a replacement heart valve made of his own transplanted tissue, medical experts predict he will require repeated heart valve replacement surgery in the next two to eight years (as his current valve degrades). Schwarzenegger apparently opted against a mechanical valve, the only permanent solution available at the time of his surgery, because it would have sharply limited his physical activity and capacity to exercise.
  • He bought the first Hummer manufactured for civilian use in 1992, a model so large, 6,300 lb (2900 kg) and 7 feet (2.1 m) wide that it is classified as a large truck and U.S. fuel economy regulations do not apply to it. From the Diesel H1's fuel capacity and range ratings, it may go as few as 16 miles per U.S. gallon. (Source: The Book of Useless Information, page 14, published 2002). During the Gubernatorial Recall campaign he announced that he would convert one of his Hummers to burn hydrogen (see [44]). The conversion was reported to have cost about $21,000 (USD). After the election, he signed an executive order to jumpstart the building of hydrogen refueling plants called the "California Hydrogen Highway Network", and gained a DOE grant to help pay for its projected $91,000,000 (USD) cost (see [45]). California took delivery of the first H2H (Hummer 2 Hydrogen) in October 2004 (see [46]).
  • His fellow bodybuilder and actor Sven-Ole Thorsen has collaborated with him in 15 movies so far.
  • Schwarzenegger's official height has often been reported as six-two, though some observers debit him two or three inches. His weight while competing was in the 255-pound range; currently, he carries about 210 pounds.

See also

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations by or about:

Official

Unofficial

References

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, Arnold: Developing a Mr Universe Physique, 1977
  • ---- Interview in Oui magazine, August 1977
  • ---- Excerpts from Time Out (London) interview, 1977
  • ---- Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder, 1983, Simon & Schuster, Reprint edition, 1993, ISBN 06717974841983. autobiography
  • ---- Arnold's Body Building for Men, Simon & Schuster, Reprint edition, 1984, ISBN 0671531638
  • ---- The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding : The Bible of Bodybuilding, 1985, Fully Updated and Revised, Simon & Schuster, 1999, ISBN 0684857219
  • Nigel Andrews, True Myths of Arnold Schwarzenegger : The Life and Times of Arnold Schwarzenegger, from Pumping Iron to Governor of California, Bloomsbury USA, Revised edition, 2004, ISBN 1582344655
  • Michael Blitz, Why Arnold Matters: The Rise of a Cultural Icon
  • Karen Brandon, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • Colleen A. Sexton, Arnold Schwarzenegger (A&E Biography), Lerner Publications, 2004, ISBN 0822522233
  • Susan Zannos, Arnold Schwarzenegger (Real-Life Reader Biography)
  • Andy Borowitz, Governor Arnold : A Photodiary of His First 100 Days in Office, Simon & Schuster, 2004, ISBN 0743262662
  • "Arnold Schwarzenegger - Hollywood Hero" DVD ~ Todd Baker
  • "Pumping Iron" (25th Anniversary Special Edition) DVD ~ George Butler
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger at the Internet Movie Database
  • Cinemovie.Info: Arnold Schwarzenegger

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