What Will Arnold Schwarzenegger's Next Role Be?

With Arnold Schwarzenegger's governorship entering its final years and his ability to attract the spotlight intact, one question is arising more frequently: What will Arnold do?

Will he share the stage with Al Gore as a global environmental crusader, promote green technology for a Barack Obama administration, run for the U.S. Senate? Or might he pursue political reform on a broader scale, as he has hinted in appearances with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who shares Schwarzenegger's independent streak?

Any of the options that would give him a larger platform undoubtedly would be more appealing than dealing with the gridlock inside California's Capitol.

The partisan finger-wagging has kept him wrapped up in negotiations over faltering state finances for much of the last two years, and his approval ratings have followed the decline in California's economic fortunes.

The 61-year-old Republican governor has been asked repeatedly whether he would entertain a position if offered one by the Democratic president-elect, most likely focused on alternative energy or other environmental initiatives.

He's been coy in some of his answers, but has said he will remain in office until the end of his term in January 2011. He is not eligible to run again for governor.

Schwarzenegger enjoyed a brief diversion from the budget frustrations as he mingled recently with leaders from 19 countries at the global warming summit organized by his administration.

The meeting had a lofty goal: drafting the template for the next phase of United Nations climate talks. The U.N. has a December 2009 deadline to complete a treaty to succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

While it might seem presumptuous for a governor of just one state to attempt to influence the talks, Schwarzenegger is a unique character. He has successfully branded himself as a modern environmental activist by repeating the same message: Cut emissions and invest in green technologies such as solar and wind power.

That image has held even though implementation of Schwarzenegger's signature policy — the 2006 law seeking to cut emissions roughly a third by 2020 — is so complex that it won't be completed until after he leaves office.

"When I think about what we're doing to address climate change and address a global issue, I think it's only fitting that Governor Schwarzenegger should be the lead," Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said during the recent global warming summit.

Schwarzenegger's name comes up as a possible U.S. Senate candidate should Sen. Dianne Feinstein decide to run for governor in 2010 or if he chose to run against Sen. Barbara Boxer. Both are Democrats.

But a governor accustomed to bright lights may be unlikely to feel satisfied in the Senate, as one actor in a cast of 100. His centrist political philosophy also could make it difficult for him to survive a Republican primary in his home state.

One of the biggest wild cards is the governor's wife, Maria Shriver. A Democrat and early supporter of Obama, she was caught off guard in 2003 when Schwarzenegger announced his intention to run in the recall election for governor.

Schwarzenegger says that won't happen next time.

"Before I make any move, the next move that I make, I'm going to go and say to Maria: `Maria, you tell me what to do,'" Schwarzenegger said in a recent Fox News interview.

A reprise of his Hollywood career seems unlikely. The film star who earned $30 million in his final "Terminator" movie now says he'd rather be an action hero on weightier matters such as alternative energy and rebuilding the nation's infrastructure.

Schwarzenegger often has said how much he admires his in-laws, who started the Special Olympics and followed a family legacy of public service.

His ambition to leave a similar legacy is a driving force. Schwarzenegger has signed partnerships with the governors of Western states and Canadian provinces to develop regional cap-and-trade systems designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Last week, he signed deals with regional government leaders from Mexico, Canada, Brazil and Indonesia in which they pledged support for climate initiatives.

After several years promoting environmental issues, Schwarzenegger told The Associated Press that combating global warming is now as ingrained in him as the career that began his rise to international fame — bodybuilding.

"Everything I do is forever. I got into bodybuilding at an early age and I will be working out until I drop dead, and hopefully they will put dumbbells in my casket," he said. "I will continue promoting fitness forever and I will be an environmental leader forever."


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 5, 2008 at 09:33 PM
    "Get to da chappahhhh!!!!"- Best line from "Predator".
  • by Cactus Location: Strabane on Dec 5, 2008 at 06:53 PM
    voter, i was slow on that one. Good one.
  • by voter Location: nc on Dec 4, 2008 at 02:23 PM
    i enjoyed the last paragraph where he wanted al gore and harry reid in his casket.
  • by ??? Location: NC on Dec 4, 2008 at 02:02 PM
    Arnold will make Terminator 5 in which he will be transported to Washington DC in the year 2010. He will be sent back in time by Republicans from the year 2013 who have witnessed the havoc the Dumbocrats will have wreaked on America.Once he arrives in DC, he will eradicate the evil Dumbocrats. The Dumbocrats leader will be shaking in his shoes after the Terminator rolls up his sleeve and peels the skin off his robotic arm to reveal what he is.I think this will be the greatest Terminator yet. surely it will make Arnold Millions.Arnold, I say go for it.
  • by C on Dec 4, 2008 at 01:24 PM
    I realize that this is way off-topic, but as a movie fan I'm STILL mad that The Terminator character was made into the hero in the last 2 films ! Speaking just for myself, I liked him much better as the villain, as he was in the first movie . I still vividly recall getting all happy when I learned that they were making that first sequel. The big day finally arrived and I went to see "Terminator 2". When it dawned on me that Schwarzenegger was now the hero, I was crushed ! It was the adult equivalent of what a child feels when he opens that huge, gift-wrapped box on Christmas morning..only to discover that it's filled with socks. Oh, well, I can at least watch the best one [the FIRST one] on DVD.....
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Dec 4, 2008 at 12:14 PM
    Luke you gullyman, if you think that global warming exisits then your career should go like Al Gores...he no longer is "pompedu-upp"
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