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Arnold Schwarzenegger: rebuilding a career – and battered reputation (+video)

The former California governor is on a media blitz to promote his memoirs, a second film career, and a new public policy institute with global aspirations. But first, he needs to win back a little respect.

By Staff writer / October 1, 2012

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger opens up on affair. This was not seen on Sunday night's edition of '60 Minutes.'

LOS ANGELES

With a new memoir and five movies coming up, Arnold Schwarzenegger is hip deep in a comeback tour. The jewel in that crown was his Sunday night appearance on CBS’s venerable news magazine, “60 Minutes,” kicking off its 45th season with the interview of California’s former governor and star of the "Terminator" films.

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The question lingering over the seven-time Mr. Universe and action-hero-turned-politician is: Can he regain not just career momentum but also the respect he so publicly lost when details of the son conceived with the family housekeeper became public knowledge?

The weather prediction for this tour appears to be: mostly sunny with a chance of showers.

Mr. Schwarzenegger knows what he is doing, says Bernard Luskin, president-elect for the Society for Media Psychology and Technology of the American Psychological Association. “Arnold will persist with the same aggressive ruthlessness that he has demonstrated with the other obsessive passions in his life.”

That means a campaign to keep himself in the public eye, making lots of money and getting attention.

As for how he landed such tony media real estate Sunday night, it helps to know that his book publisher, Simon and Schuster, is also a CBS property. Schwarzenegger's memoir, “Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story,” was released Monday.

Ultimately, however, “society gets to decide what is good or bad,” Professor Luskin points out.

Some people may be more willing to overlook Schwarzenegger's foibles because he is a former celebrity, says Ben Agger, director of the Center for Theory at the University of Texas, Arlington.   "We may assume that bodybuilders-turned-actors will have feet of clay. He may well be publicly redeemed if he seeks, not elective office, but talk-show host,” he says via e-mail.

Schwarzenegger is now in the company of “damaged” public figures, says Luskin. “The public may be willing to forget to some degree but will not forgive – so much as accept – as he attempts to remake himself,” he says.

Schwarzenegger has plenty of company, he adds.

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