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CNN PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
People In The News; Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ralph Nader
Aired August 22, 2004 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, he took on corporate America.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When Ralph Nader would speak, you know, people would say, uh-oh.
ANNOUNCER: He rattled an election.
RALPH NADER (I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In America, everyone has an equal right to run for office.
CROWD: Run, Ralph, run!
ANNOUNCER: Now he's doing it again.
DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: He's playing the same role that he played in 2000, in trying to siphon votes from John Kerry.
ANNOUNCER: His political determination goes back to childhood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nader would be forced as an 8-year-old to sit there at the dinner table and to defend his political beliefs.
ANNOUNCER: Still, a man on a mission.
NADER: Everything I do is to fight for the people of this country.
ANNOUNCER: Activist, candidate, enigma. Ralph Nader.
Then, the mega action star who terminated big-screen stardom to become governor of California.
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: Thank you very much to all the people of California.
ANNOUNCER: Growing up poor in a war-torn Austria, he saw his ticket to fame in the weight room.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I need to go and become Mr. Universe in order to get into movies.
ANNOUNCER: This staunch Republican fell in love and married into Camelot.
TIM SHRIVER, BROTHER-IN-LAW: He was huge, confident, and trying to make time with my sister. ANNOUNCER: Allegations from his past dogged him on the campaign trail.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I have behaved badly sometimes.
I am a machine.
ANNOUNCER: Cyborg, humanitarian, businessman, and now California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Their stories now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Hi, welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn. He is the other presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, and he could be a deciding factor again in yet another close race for the White House. If that is, he can get on enough ballots.
From consumer champion to political lightning rod, a look at Nader, his life, his beliefs, and what's behind his decision to make another run at the presidency.
Here's Bruce Burkhardt.
BRUCE BURKHARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When your car scolds you to put on your seatbelt, that is Ralph Nader speaking. The airbag pops out to save you, that is Nader also. When you get bumped from an overbooked flight, but walk away with a free ticket, thank Ralph Nader. From the air we breathe to the food we eat, it's hard to go anywhere without running into Ralph Nader's legacy.
It's a legacy that seems to crash head-on with more recent history.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Put me on, Gore has retracted his concession.
WILLIAM DALEY, GORE CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: Just an hour or so ago, the TV networks called this race for Governor Bush. It now appears -- it now appears that their call was premature.
BRAZILE: Nader was a force in 2000, he was a force in those key battleground states where, of course, the election was decided by 2 or 3 percent of the population.
BURKHARDT: A small fraction of the vote, but enough to end up sending George W. Bush to the White House and enough to brand Ralph Nader as the presidential spoiler.
NADER: It irritates them that anybody dares be an underdog candidate basically say, we're going to break up your two-party party.
BURKHARDT: Now, in the midst of another close election, he's at it again.
NADER: Today, I entered the 2004 elections as an independent candidate for the presidency of the United States.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Democrats are enraged. They are almost as angry at Ralph Nader as they are at George W. Bush. They are just furious that he's running, and they ask, why? Why is this guy running?
BURKHARDT: So just what makes Ralph run? Is Nader a political visionary or simply a spoiler? Is it ego or higher calling?
Political psychologist Aubrey Immelman.
AUBREY IMMELMAN, POLITICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: If I had to put Ralph Nader's personality in a nutshell, I would say that Ralph Nader personality in need of a mission.
BURKHARDT: The mission began in Winsted, Connecticut, a small New England town where Ralph was born in 1934, the fourth and youngest child of Lebanese immigrants. It was a family where citizenship was taken seriously.
Ralph's father, Nathra Nader, ran a restaurant in town. The joke was that for a nickel, you'd get a cup of coffee and all the political argument you would ever want.
NADER: Sometimes people would come in, sit down, and they would hear what he had to say, and they say, you know, there are a lot of people that don't agree with that, you're going to lose business. And he said, really? Well, isn't that too bad. When I sailed past the Statue of Liberty in 1912, I took it seriously.
BURKHARDT: In a small town where everything was within walking distance, Ralph's father would often take his son to the courthouse.
NADER: My father constantly drilled into me that the chief role of a lawyer is to advance justice.
BURKHARDT: Nader also got to witness bare-fisted New England democracy, the town meeting.
JUSTIN MARTIN, BIOGRAPHER: He came away with the notion that democracy wasn't sort of a gentile occupation, it was something fierce and hard-fought and two-fisted.
BURKHARDT: Back at home, the Nader dinner table also served up plenty of food for thought.
CLAIRE NADER, SISTER: My father asked a lot of questions that he wanted us to think about, not quick answers.
MARTIN: Nader would be forced as a 7-year-old or as an 8-year- old to sit there at the dinner table and to defend his political beliefs under just intense scrutiny and intense attack from his father.
IMMELMAN: The children were treated by their parents almost as adults. They were not allowed to go to movies unless it had a moral. CLAIRE NADER: It was a strict household, but not harsh. There was that lovely balance between discipline and love.
BURKHARDT: Growing up in Winsted, Nader was always a bit different.
FRED SILVERLO, CHILDHOOD FRIEND: He carried his books in a briefcase to high school for four years. Most of us just packed them under our arm.
BURKHARDT: In 1951, he took his briefcase and headed to Princeton, a place where Nader continued to stand out from the crowd.
MARTIN: He certainly didn't make too many concessions to the style of Princeton at the time, didn't dress in the chinos and the box shoes that were popular during that era.
NADER: It was just a wonderful place to go against the grain in order to get a real education. If you went through in a conforming way, you would miss out on a lot. And I went through just the opposite.
BURKHARDT: After graduating from Harvard Law in 1959, Nader found a job at a small Connecticut law firm. He hated it.
Just to get away, he spent his summers as a freelance writer hitchhiking across the country. It would be an eye-opening experience.
MARTIN: And he would often get picked up by truckers, and truckers had amazing stories about horrible accidents they'd seen, and that got him thinking about how dangerous cars might be, and he actually saw an accident in which a small girl's head had been -- had actually been decapitated by the glove compartment.
BURKHARDT: Nader had found his calling, a citizen's fight for auto safety.
When we return, the man who doesn't even own a car takes on General Motors.
MARTIN: General Motors hired a couple of really bumbling detectives to try to sort of look into Nader's past and look into Nader's life.
BURKHARDT: Ralph Nader, public crusader.
NADER: Society rots from the head down, like a fish.
BURKHARDT: Or nation's nag.
ANNOUNCER: We now return to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
BURKHARDT: The early 1960s, optimistic time for American commerce. At age 29, Ralph Nader didn't share that optimism. The carnage he had seen on the nation's roads made an impact. Hoping to do something about it, he moved to Washington.
MARTIN: He goes to work in the Labor Department for Daniel Patrick Moynihan, but also he starts moonlighting and starts learning about auto safety, writing articles about it, and ultimately he gets a contract to write a book that became "Unsafe at any Speed."
BURKHARDT: "Unsafe at any Speed," an expose blasting design flaws and cost-cutting measures in General Motors cars, particular the Chevrolet Corvair.
JOAN CLAYBROOK, PRESIDENT, PUBLIC CITIZEN: General Motors had hives when they read the book. They had an investigator. They tried to get some dirt on Ralph Nader.
MARTIN: General Motors hired a couple of really bumbling detectives to try to sort of look into Nader's past and look into Nader's life.
CLAYBROOK: They had sent a prostitute after him, also. At the cookie counter at the Safeway, and he had turned her down. And so they thought, well, maybe he is a homosexual.
NADER: And then they followed me down to Senate office building, and then they couldn't find me, so they went to the police guard and the guard said, what are you doing, following people here into the Congress? What's your name?
BURKHARDT: In 1966, a Senate Subcommittee on Traffic Safety saw an opportunity to raise awareness. They put GM's president on the hot seat in a nationally televised hearing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us assume that you found something wrong with (UNINTELLIGIBLE), what would that have to do with whether or not he was right or wrong on the Corvair?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What if you found out he was or was not anti- Semitic? What would that have to do with whether a Corvair...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...was a good or a bad car?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing.
BURKHARDT: On nationwide TV, the gangly young lawyer brought GM to its knees.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to apologize here and now to members of this subcommittee and Mr. Nader. I sincerely hope that these apologies will be accepted.
BURKHARDT: GM eventually paid Nader $425,000 to settle an invasion of privacy lawsuit. The committee went on to set up a federal agency devoted to traffic safety.
Overnight, Ralph Nader became a household name. He was just getting started.
NADER: I felt an opportunity and an obligation to take this attention and support by the public into other consumer, environmental, worker safety areas.
BURKHARDT: The modern muckraker used funds from his GM settlement to create an army of young lawyers, the Nader Raiders.
MARK GREEN, FORMER NADER RAIDER: We were the underfunded people, putting our faces against the pangs of power and yelling, let us in, you're corrupt.
NADER: Existing pollution control laws in this country are shams.
BURKHARDT: They spurred the creation of the EPA and other federal watchdog agencies, from air travel to workplace safety, to hot dog ingredients. The Raiders hit hard, and made their boss a feared man in the halls of power.
CLAYBROOK: So when Ralph Nader would speak, people would say, uh-oh.
BURKHARDT: Nader got respect, but he also racked up critics.
FRANCES SMITH, EXEC. DIRECTOR, CONSUMER ALERT: He's pro-big government in almost any situation. In terms of the regulatory burden, it's the consumers who end paying as those extra costs are passed on to them in the form of taxation, in the form of high prices.
BURKHARDT: But love him or hate him, Ralph Nader was an icon.
Sharing the stage with trend setters like John Lennon and Yoko Ono on "The Mike Douglas Show."
NADER: You'll be more likely to want to vote, particularly at a younger age, if you know what the issues are and if you can push for real choices.
NADER: Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!
BURKHARDT: He even appeared later on "Saturday Night Live."
NADER: This television studio is in the RCA Building, in midtown Manhattan, the heart of corporate America.
BURKHARDT: Showing a side of himself rarely seen.
CHARLENE LAVOIE, FRIEND: He has the best sense of humor of anybody that I've ever met.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How would you describe your sense of humor?
NADER: When you have to describe your own sense of humor, you don't have a sense of humor.
BURKHARDT: As a consumer advocate, though, Ralph Nader was deadly serious and single-minded. He dismissed overtures to run for office, even turning down an invitation to be George McGovern's presidential running mate in '72.
On his own, Nader was a powerhouse, though his own house was less than ordinary.
MARTIN: He didn't have a television, you know, didn't drive an automobile, obviously, lived in a rooming house in Washington, D.C. with several other boarders, didn't even have his own telephone.
GREEN: To call him frugal in my mind is like to assume he is a spendthrift. He bought like 10 pairs of combat boots in the 1950s and wore them for the next 20 and 30 years until they wore out.
BURKHARDT: He founded more than 40 consumer advocacy groups, each with its own area of influence, and all with Nader's fervent frugality.
GREEN: So we would have to go across the street, put a coin in a phone booth and make our long-distance calls.
CLAYBROOK: We weren't allowed to have a Xerox machine, because it cost too much. So we had to make everything in purple, you know, those purple mimeographs.
MARTIN: He used to pay people two paychecks a year. That way, he didn't have to waste as much time on payroll, signing checks, et cetera.
BURKHARDT: Ralph's life has been all about work. He never married. He's said to log 100-hour workweeks. The man who raised a thousand issues never raised a family.
NADER: I don't believe in being an absentee father, and when you take on General Motors, and Exxon, and the drug companies, and the banks, and insurance companies, you don't have time for that.
BURKHARDT: But he did have a parent's pride when President Carter tapped dozens of former Raiders to join his staff.
Ralph thought he would be able to flex some fatherly muscle in the White House. He thought wrong.
MARTIN: He would call up his former employees who were placed in various positions throughout the Carter government and berate them for not getting things done fast enough. He would claim they were sellouts. It was the beginning of Nader's decline in influence. It also dates the beginning of Nader's disillusion with the Democrats.
BURKHARDT: In the '80s, his star continued to fall. As President Reagan's morning in America was dawning, the sun was setting on Nader's activism. NADER: They shut us out in effect, and that's when you have to heed Thomas Jefferson's historic words, that when you lose your government, you got to go try to get it back.
BURKHARDT: So Ralph Nader ran for president. In '92 he was a write-in candidate in the New Hampshire Democratic primary. In '96, he ran nationwide as the Green Party nominee, but the unsuccessful candidate still thought he had an open line to the White House.
When we come back, unreturned phone calls, and Nader's transition from gadfly to fly in the ointment.
MARTIN: Al Gore indicted he might call him back, but then Al Gore never called him back. Ralph Nader stewed about that for several years, and then I guess had his revenge in 2000.
CROWD: No more war! No more war!
ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
BURKHARDT: 1996, Democrats are riding the Clinton/Gore wave, but Ralph Nader can't even get his calls to the White House returned.
GREEN: It is true that Bill Clinton and especially Al Gore ignored Nader. I don't mean ignored him on issues that he was marginal, but on regulatory issues, consumer issues, auto safety issues. You would have thought they would pick up the phone and bring him in occasionally. They didn't.
NADER: And they just gave the civic community the straight arm, because they said you've got nowhere to go, you're not going to vote for the Republicans. You're either going to have to stay home or vote for us.
BURKHARDT: Turned away and turned off by the two parties, Nader decided to crash the party in 2000.
BRAZILE: Initially we ignored Ralph Nader, we didn't think Ralph Nader would be any threat to Al Gore. We left it to the members of the progressive community to attack Ralph Nader, to challenged Ralph Nader. And what we learned over the course of three months leading up to the election in November was that Ralph Nader was picking up steam in crucial battleground states like Michigan, Wisconsin.
SCHNEIDER: November 7, 2000. Ralph Nader suddenly became a figure of influence and importance. Why? Because he threw the election to George W. Bush. There were two states in 2000, New Hampshire and Florida, which it can reasonably be argued, based on the evidence, those states went for Bush, but would have gone for Gore if Nader had not been on the ballot.
NADER: One assumption is all my votes come from Gore. It's completely false. The exit polls show 25 percent of my votes came -- would have gone to Bush; 38 percent would have gotten to Gore, the rest would not have voted.
NADER: I'm Ralph Nader running for president.
BURKHARDT: Not one to back down from controversy, Nader has thrown his hat in the ring yet again, running this time as an independent.
BRAZILE: I think Ralph Nader has had his own agenda for many years now. He believes that he's the only voice of the progressive movement, the only voice of the left, and as a result of it, Ralph Nader has decided that he should be president and not back the Democratic Party's nominees.
MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: Ladies and gentlemen of the Twin Cities, Ralph Nader!
BURKHARDT: Liberal activist Michael Moore stood up for Nader in 2000, but recently on "Real Time With Bill Maher, he got on his knees.
MOORE: Don't run, please, please.
GREEN: Ninety-five percent of the people who have worked longest with him and loved him the most, and I include myself in that group, implored him not to run, and walked through the reasons. And to his credit, he was patient, he listened to all of us, saying the same thing, and he said, it's Lincoln's cabinet -- 12 nays, one aye; the ayes have it.
NADER: All these people who wrote me letters and asked of me, they've got good jobs, good benefits, good health insurance, usually a good home. They can go to the theater anytime they want. That's not where my compass comes from.
BURKHARDT: Nader's strong sense of direction has cost him friends and support, and left many wondering just what makes Ralph run?
MARTIN: Because of his upbringing in part, particularly I think because of the fierce political arguments that he would have with his father growing up, Nader, in some ways, he's almost tone-deaf. In his mind, democracy is kind of a contact sport. And so when people were livid, enraged at him, you can have no better person out there, no person better suited to handle that. I mean, he just felt like, oh, this is just democracy as usual.
IMMELMAN: I would have to say that Ralph Nader does have certain personality traits that might lend itself to vindictiveness. Primarily, he has a fairly distrusting aspect to his personality, which contributes to the us versus them view of the world.
CLAIRE NADER: I guess being a leader means that sometimes you have to be unpopular.
BURKHARDT: Though he's still fighting to get his name on ballots, he's finding popularity and funding in an unlikely place. SCHNEIDER: Where is it coming from? A good part of that money, like a quarter of the money he raised in Florida, is coming from Republicans. They said, everybody should have a vote, even minority candidates should be on the ballot, and they say that with a straight face, as if, oh, it never really occurred to them that what they're doing is helping George Bush.
BURKHARDT: For their part, Democrats are openly trying to stop Nader.
HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All I'm asking is that we not let the perfect become the enemy of the good, because at this election, it matters.
BURKHARDT: But the citizen candidate remains defiant.
NADER: The Democratic Party thinks it owns it voters, and it's willing to play dirty tricks on any challenger, including collaborating with the Republicans to pass laws to erect huge ballot access barriers so that you can't even get on the ballot.
How long is the learning curve before we recognize that political parties are the problem?
BURKHARDT: Even in the face of another presidential dead heat, he still doesn't see himself as a spoiler.
NADER: We're either spoilers of all other candidates, because we're all trying to get more votes from each other, or none of us are spoilers. If we believe that in America everyone has an equal right to run for office.
BURKHARDT: Is Nader motivated by conviction? Political principle? Or just plain, old-fashioned ego?
GREEN: When people today say, oh, he's acting out of ego, it's odd, because if you're acting out of ego merely, he knows if he loses badly and possibly again elects Bush, he could be ruined in terms of his legacy and his memory.
NADER: Who cares about my legacy? My legacy is established. They're not going to tear seatbelts out of cars. I look to the future. That's the important thing.
BURKHARDT: At the age of 70, Nader shows no signs of letting up. His father, in fact, marched on until age 97.
CLAIRE NADER: My family doesn't retire. They wear out, I guess. Retire to what?
BURKHARDT: And Ralph Nader is still a man on a mission.
NADER: They don't understand me. To me, the greatest gratification in life is fighting for justice, because justice is, as Senator Daniel Webster once said, the great work of human beings on Earth. You have no liberty, no freedom, no pursuit of happiness without justice.
ZAHN: Ralph Nader's campaign hopes to get him on the ballot in more states than in 2000, but so far that isn't the case. Nader even failed to qualify for the ballot in California.
Meanwhile, the Nader camp is gearing up to fight for a spot in the presidential debates this fall.
ANNOUNCER: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns, he's been a barbarian, a Terminator and a kindergarten cop. But is he the next great politician?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything he's done comes out of a very firm political DNA in his brain.
ANNOUNCER: From the weight room to the governor's office, a look at Arnold Schwarzenegger is next.
ZAHN: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. He has conquered body building, the box office, and now politics. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor Schwarzenegger, that is, action hero and prime time speaker at the Republican National Convention. It is just the latest milestone for an icon who's made winning a profession. Here's Bill Hemmer.
BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you don't remember the face, you may remember the body. A young Mr. Universe pumping iron in the early '70s, a physique that strained the imagination.
JOE WEIDER, CHMN. WEIDER HEALTH AND FITNESS: When it comes to size and proportion, he was the best.
HEMMER: As the gargantuan '80s action hero, "Conan the Barbarian."
JAMIE LEE CURTIS, ACTRESS: He is an enormously talented man with enormous charisma.
HEMMER: And perhaps his biggest and most memorable role, the larger than life killer robot in "The Terminator."
SCHWARZENEGGER: I'll be back.
HEMMER: But he may not be back for a while. The Terminator shocked the political world when he left Hollywood to take on a new role.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I, Arnold Schwarzenegger...
HEMMER: Governor of California.
But Schwarzenegger's road to victory was not without bumps. Early in his campaign, he was criticized for not spelling out his political views.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When are you going to answer our questions, sir? When are you going to talk to us about substance?
SCHWARZENEGGER: We will be rolling it out. Remember, we just started the campaign.
HEMMER: And the media aired controversial excerpts from the 1975 documentary "Pumping Iron," including a clip showing the 29-year-old bodybuilder smoking pot.
Portions of a graphic interview Schwarzenegger gave to an adult magazine 25 years ago were publicized. He allegedly told "Oui" magazine about group sex he had had at a California gym.
And just days ago before the election, questions were raised about Schwarzenegger's treatment of women in the past. The "Los Angeles Times" reported that women had accused him of sexual harassment, one claiming that Schwarzenegger, quote, "groped her and tried to remove her bathing suit."
SCHWARZENEGGER: I have behaved badly sometimes. Yes, it is true, that I was on rowdy movie sets and I have done things that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I thought then was playful, but now I recognize that I have offended people. And to those people that I have offended, I want to say to them, I am deeply sorry about that.
HEMMER: But reaction to his past behavior did not deter him. Despite the controversy, Schwarzenegger came out on top.
SCHNEIDER: It was as if the "L.A. Times" and other stories never appeared, because the final vote on October 7 looked very much like the vote that was predicted two weeks earlier, before all of these accusations broke in the press, as if they never happened, and that really was a surprise.
GEORGE BUTLER, DIRECTOR, "PUMPING IRON": Never underestimate Arnold. People have always counted him down and out at every particular moment in his career right from the beginning.
HEMMER: The odds were stacked against Arnold Schwarzenegger early on. His life began in Austria during a climate of uncertainty, July 30 1947. Adolph Hitler was no longer in power and World War II had ended, but Europe was in disarray with rampant unemployment and poverty.
SCHWARZENEGGER: My mother had to literally go 20, 30 kilometers around -- you know, to find food for us kids.
HEMMER: Little Arney and his big brother Meinhard grew up in this house in a sleepy farming community called Taw (ph), nestled in the hilly southeastern region of Austria. His mother, Aurelia, was a homemaker and his father, Gustav, a police officer who kept a strict household.
SCHWARZENEGGER: There was a serious, kind of, punishments if you did something wrong. My mother was much more disciplined. She was waiting at home after I came home from school, and she would demand to do the homework first before I was allowed out of the house.
HEMMER: Arnold's father, at one time a member of the Nazi Party, was even more of a disciplinarian. He pitted son against son in everything from school to sports.
LARRY SUTTON, ASSOCIATED EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Everyone thought that Meinhard was the one who was going to go on to bigger and better things. In fact, they say that Arnold was so timid when he followed Meinhard around, that to goof on him, his friends would call him "Cinderella," as if he were -- you know, the sister that wasn't really getting all the star treatment.
HEMMER: Those insults just pushed Arnold to work harder. He became obsessed with competition.
He also discovered another passion -- action movies. Mostly those featuring muscular film stars, like Steve Reeves in 1958's "Hercules Unchained."
SCHWARZENEGGER: I remember I looked at it and said, wow, this guy became a Hercules star because he was Mr. Universe. So, maybe that's what I need to do. I need to go and become Mr. Universe and then win Mr. World competition and be a world champion in bodybuilding in order to get into movies.
HEMMER: He plotted his destiny, studying muscle magazines, discovering the gym, and enduring grueling workout sessions.
SCHWARZENEGGER: When I started training with weights, at the age of 15, my body responded very quickly, so I -- it was very clear that that was where my potential was.
HEMMER: In 1961, the well developed 15-year-old came in second at his first bodybuilding contest in Austria. During a short stint in the army, he entered and won more competitions. He took home the title of Junior Mr. Europe in a 1966 runner-up in the Mr. Universe contest. The 19-year-old trained even harder.
In 1967, at the age of 20, Arnold Schwarzenegger became the youngest Mr. Universe in history. American bodybuilding champ, Joe Weider, was impressed.
WEIDER: I knew at that time that he would be a great champion. He was charming, he made you laugh, and he trained hard, and he was totally dedicated.
HEMMER: Weider encouraged the 20-year-old to leave Austria and train in the United States. Schwarzenegger was elated.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I wanted to get into movies. I wanted to be the top in bodybuilding. I wanted to make a lot of money. HEMMER: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns, Schwarzenegger makes millions.
SCHWARZENEGGER: Very nice.
HEMMER: Conquers Conan and marries into Camelot.
SHRIVER: He was huge, confident, and trying to make time with my sister.
ANNOUNCER: We now return to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
HEMMER: By 1968, Arnold Schwarzenegger was the best bodybuilder in the world, but the 21-year-old Austrian was looking for more than just trophies.
SCHWARZENEGGER: And I wanted to go to America and I wanted to be part of something really big.
HEMMER: He left Austria and muscled his way to L.A.'s Venice Beach, the bodybuilding Mecca in the '60s. He took classes, learned English, and worked out. In 1969, he captured the coveted Mr. Olympia title. He still craved a bigger title and a bigger audience.
SCHWARZENEGGER: Bodybuilding was a wonderful sport, and I had a great time, but it was always a means to an end, as everything ought to be. The bodybuilding was a way of getting into the movies.
HEMMER: After a few acting classes, he landed his very first part. Billed as "Arnold Strong," he was seen, but not heard in 1969's low budget flick "Hercules in New York." His voice was dubbed when movie execs decided his Austrian accent was too thick.
SCHWARZENEGGER: A fine chariot, but where are the horses?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A fine chariot, but where are the horses?
HEMMER: Schwarzenegger gained his first real notoriety in "Pumping Iron," the documentary about bodybuilders training for Mr. Olympia. George Butler directed the film.
BUTLER: The entire movie is almost like a Schwarzenegger monologue, and he's wickedly funny in it, very smart, very canny, very surprising.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I have no fear of fainting in a gym, because I know it could happen. I threw up many times while I was working out, but it doesn't matter, because it's all worth it.
HEMMER: Schwarzenegger's body, charm and wit made him a hit with American audiences.
He also captured someone else's attention.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I would say that I fell in love with her, very much, in the beginning when I met her.
HEMMER: In 1977, 30-year-old Schwarzenegger was further Americanized when he began dating the niece of President John F. Kennedy, Maria Shriver.
Shiver's parents and brothers are well known philanthropists and liberals.
SHRIVER: There was no expectation that an Austrian bodybuilder, who was a Republican, would ever do -- be anything more than a weekend visitor. I think he was fascinated, most by my parents, really.
BUTLER: Right from the start, long before he met Maria, it was very clear that he was interested in the Kennedys and he really had a plan to do exactly what he's done. He wanted to get from A to Z, and Z was to be a millionaire, to be somehow associated with the White House.
HEMMER: After an eight-year courtship, Schwarzenegger and Shriver married in 1986. Politics aside, he says they have much in common.
SCHWARZENEGGER: She was always a very ambitious girl, and I was always ambitious, and we all are big believers in family. I wanted to have kids, she always wanted to have kids. I always wanted to have two, she always wanted to have five, so we settled at four.
HEMMER: Schwarzenegger had become a member of America's most famous family.
His next role would make him a member of Hollywood's elite.
LEAH ROZEN, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: "Conan the Barbarian" was essentially a revival of these cheesy sword and sandals, sort of, cartoon epics. I mean, these things were cheesy, but made it clear that this guy could be a movie star.
HEMMER: And he continued to capitalize on his body off screen, building on the brawn and his brain. After earning a business degree from University of Wisconsin's Superior in 1979, he put his education to the test.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I was smart enough to make money off my bodybuilding to write books, best selling books. Any money that I made I invested in real estate. I would say that by the late '70s, I was already a millionaire.
Hey, good to see you. Let's see those muscles. Wow!
HEMMER: A millionaire and a 1984 career-changing role as the indestructible alien in "The Terminator."
SCHWARZENEGGER: It was the first movie that became, like, a huge hit without really using the body and exploiting the body, because I had my leather jacket on throughout the whole movie.
Beautiful, you did it perfect.
HEMMER: Schwarzenegger used his success to help disadvantaged kids. He launched the "Inner City Games" and became a driving force behind the Special Olympics.
SHRIVER: He's been an enormously powerful force for putting people with mental disability on the map in places where they're not known as a people of dignity and respect.
HEMMER: But with fame, fortune and good deeds came scathing reviews of his personal life. When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns, Schwarzenegger's reputation butchered in a movie magazine.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I've gotten bad press. There's always some people out there that want to do you harm.
HEMMER: And, hasta la vista, Hollywood -- Conan, the politician.
ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
SCHWARZENEGGER: Hasta la vista, baby.
HEMMER: In the early '90s, Arnold Schwarzenegger was the king of action heroes. He returned his as the unstoppable alien in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and rocked the box office with a violent big budget "Total Recall."
SCHWARZENEGGER: Don't blow my cover!
HEMMER: All the muscles in the world could not save his next movies. Comedies "Junior" and "Jingle all the Way" fizzled.
ROZEN: The late '90s, in particular, were not that kind to Arnold. He tried to broaden his range, because it was clear he was getting a little older and the stunts were a little harder to do. It was clear. He was no longer the box office star he had been.
HEMMER: Box office bombs coincided with some personal problems. In 1997, the 50-year-old underwent surgery to replace a defective heart valve. He made a full recovery, but rumors circulated that his bad heart was due to steroid use in his early years.
WEIDER: He knew I didn't like it, but they all had to take it in order to compete in those days. He didn't overdo it.
HEMMER: And, in 2001, Schwarzenegger was incensed when "Premiere" magazine featured an article alleging his boorish behavior toward women, that he had fondled female co-stars.
SUTTON: An article came out in "Premier" magazine that sort of brought to the forefront a lot of the things that had been whispered about Arnold in the past, basically, his infatuation with women. And, in Europe, he's known as the octopus. He contends it's all playful. It was amazing the reaction to that article; he got, basically, all of Hollywood to line up on his side and deny these charges.
HEMMER: Actress Jamie Lee Curtis was one of those Hollywood friends. She even wrote a letter to "Premiere" magazine defending him.
CURTIS: The door to his trailer was open every single day, all day. There is nothing going on. He's in there reading Christie's catalogues. "Jamie Lee, do you think I should buy this for Maria for her birthday?" You know, I mean -- I just didn't see it.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I have gotten bad press. You cannot just expect people to talk nice about you or to just, you know, compliment you with your movies, or everyone loves your movies, everyone loves your politics, everyone loves your lifestyle.
HEMMER: Bad press and some bad movies have not deterred him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) marker.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And action!
HEMMER: But after other film flops like "Sixth Day" and "Collateral Damage," he was less on movie screens and more on the political trail.
HEMMER: He funded and served as a lead spokesman for Proposition 49, an act that established after-school programs in California.
And last year, it became evident the actor was dead serious about politics. With news of an unusual recall election to oust the unpopular governor in California, he hinted he might run for office, but later backed off. Then a surprise Schwarzenegger announcement on late night TV.
SCHWARZENEGGER: And this is why I'm going to run for governor of the state of California.
Thank you very much. Make sure to vote. OK?
HEMMER: Schwarzenegger ran a campaign mired in controversy. During what was dubbed the Super Bowl of debates, he sparred with then candidate Arianna Huffington.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, COLUMNIST: ... critical of Arnold -- to come here...
HUFFINGTON: Let me finish. Let me finish.
SCHWARZENEGGER: You're talking about (UNINTELLIGIBLE) right now, not about education.
HUFFINGTON: Let me finish. You know, this is completely impolite. This is the way you treat women, we know that, but not now.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I just realized that I have a perfect part for you in "Terminator 4."
HEMMER: Despite a campaign that seemed to focus on Schwarzenegger's past more than his policy, the 56-year-old was elected governor of California in October of 2003.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I will do everything I can to live up to the trust. I will not fail you. I will not disappoint you, and I will not let you down.
HEMMER: After a brief honeymoon period, Schwarzenegger took on his first big task -- restoring the financial health of California.
But the new governor's budget proposal with spending cuts across the board ran into opposition.
After months of stalemate, Schwarzenegger caused another political stir by referring to Democrats with a popular catch phrase.
SCHWARZENEGGER: And I hope that those that want to sell out to the special interests, those girlie men up there in Sacramento -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE), I call them girlie men. We should go back to the table and they should fix the budget.
HEMMER: In spite of the controversy, the California budget was passed just two weeks later.
With support at an all-time high, the question now for the actor turned governor, what's next?
BUTLER: He's always managed to find the odd angle that works, and I would love to see Arnold Schwarzenegger fool everyone.
CURTIS: And I think we would be so lucky if he could run for president.
HEMMER: That would take a constitutional amendment, but for this Austrian bodybuilder turned Hollywood action hero turned governor of California, anything in possible.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I have had the most interesting ride, from the time of my childhood to now. I feel lucky, I feel thankful to all the people that helped me, and you know, this is just the beginning.
ZAHN: Arnold Schwarzenegger is scheduled to share the spotlight with first lady Laura Bush on the second night of the Republican Convention.
That's it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for joining us.
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