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Schwarzenegger has 'no memory' of lewd 1977 interview

Candidate says he never lived 'to be a politician'

California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger greets supporters during a recent campaign stop in Huntington Beach.
California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger greets supporters during a recent campaign stop in Huntington Beach.

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Bowing to weeks of criticism, Arnold Schwarzenegger spelled out his views on abortion, gay marriage, taxes and other issues.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger
California Recall

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger talked about sex, drugs, bodybuilding and homosexuality in a 1977 interview with an adult magazine that's now making the rounds on the Internet.

The interview, peppered with graphic and lewd comments, is getting new attention with Schwarzenegger's bid to replace Democratic Gov. Gray Davis.

Schwarzenegger has shifted his response to the recent discovery overnight, claiming on Thursday he couldn't remember the article.

During a campaign stop in Fresno, he was asked bout the article and he repeated three times that he had "no idea what they're talking about."

He told reporters he was in Fresno to push his economic agenda.

"That's what I'm doing," he said. "I'm not paying any attention to all of those things. I have no memory of any of the articles I did 20 or 30 years ago."

Schwarzenegger is one of 135 candidates whose names will appear on the October 7 recall ballot. Numerous polls have shown him to be the top GOP contender, but some conservatives have expressed discomfort with the actor's candidacy.

At the time of the interview with Oui magazine, Schwarzenegger, then 29, was promoting "Pumping Iron," a documentary on bodybuilding that helped launch his career in Hollywood, where he went on to make popular action movies.

Schwarzenegger seemed to remember the article on Wednesday during a radio appearance.

Mark Williams from Sacramento station KFBK asked the candidate:

"I don't know if you've seen today's (The) Smoking Gun or not, but there's an old 1977 you did with Oui magazine out there, and I'll have to tell you Arnold, you were having a lot more fun in 1977 than I was."

Schwarzenegger responded: "Well, you know, you have to understand ... I mean, I know exactly what you are saying. I never lived my life to be a politician. I never lived my life to be the governor of California.

"Obviously, I've made statements that are ludicrous and crazy and outrageous and all those things, because that's the way I always was," he said. "I was always that way ... otherwise I wouldn't have done the things that I did in my career, with the bodybuilding, and the show business and all those things."

Schwarzenegger added that an interview he would do today would be different from one more than 20 years ago.

In one part of the 1977 Oui interview, Schwarzenegger describes an incident of group sex involving one woman and other bodybuilders at a gym in California.

"Everybody jumped on her and took her upstairs where we all got together," the magazine quoted Schwarzenegger as saying.

When questioned by CNN as to the authenticity of the 1977 comments, campaign aides refused to discuss the article further, referring all questions to the candidate himself. CNN also contacted the author of the 1977 article, Pete Manso, who confirmed its authenticity.

Manso told CNN's Paula Zahn Thursday that his interviews with Schwarzenegger were taped, and he plans to try to find the tapes in his "storage bin."

"If Arnold wants to come out and challenge the veracity of the piece, let him do so," he said in a telephone interview from Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Earlier, Manso told CNN he believes Schwarzenegger needs to explain whether his current views have changed.

In the magazine interview, the bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-politician displayed a casual attitude about sex.

"Having chicks around is the kind of thing that breaks up the intense training," Schwarzenegger said in the interview. "It gives you relief and then afterward you go back to the serious stuff."

Asked about homosexuality, Schwarzenegger made it clear his sexual interest was in women, but said homosexuality didn't bother him.

"Well, I have absolutely no hang-ups about the fag business; though it may bother some bodybuilders, it doesn't affect me at all," he said.

Schwarzenegger is quoted as saying he had used "grass and hash -- no hard drugs." Said the bodybuilder, "The point is that I do what I feel like doing."

Schwarzenegger, who was single at the time of the interview, is married to television journalist Maria Shriver -- niece of President Kennedy -- and the couple has four children.

The tone of the magazine interview jibes with a passage from a book "Arnold" that Schwarzenegger co-authored that same year -- 1977 -- with Douglas Kent Hall.

"I had no difficulty getting girls. I'd been introduced to sex with almost no hangups," he wrote. "The older bodybuilders at the gym had started including me in their parties. It was easy for me. These guys always saw to it that I had a girl. 'Here, Arnold, this one's for you.'

"Girls became sex objects. I saw the other bodybuilders using them in this way and I thought it was all right."

He goes on to say, however:

"My attitude about all that has changed radically. I used to feel that women were here for one reason. Sex was simply another kind of exercise, another body function ... In fact, it wasn't until four years after I started training that I had any meaningful communication with a girl."

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