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Schwarzenegger's Past Resurfaces

Aired August 28, 2003 - 20:14   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Now on to the California recall. Arnold Schwarzenegger is finally talking about the issues. We're going to dip in on a live appearance he's making right now in Fresno, California.
Let's listen in.


ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: ... other states and also into other countries.

Last month, when you look at the statistics, last month, half of the jobs that were lost in America were lost right here in our state; 22,000 people not only lost their jobs, but they are experiencing firsthand how the American dream is slipping away from them. And here, at the heart of agriculture, we have to keep our farms from being overtaxed, overburdened and over-regulated.


SCHWARZENEGGER: Look at what happened in California in these last few years. We have the highest workers compensation costs in the nation. We have the highest commercial energy costs in the nation.

ZAHN: Well, you've just been listening to Arnold Schwarzenegger on the campaign stump talking about the tremendous loss of jobs in California. But that wasn't what was on the minds of many today, as an interview that was done in 1997 -- excuse me, '77 -- between a reporter and Mr. Schwarzenegger resurfaced, with really some explosive information. The article was called "Sex Secrets of Bodybuilders."

And we're going to take a short break. And on the other side, we're going to meet up with the reporter who did that interview back in 1977 and figure out why it is creating such waves for Mr. Schwarzenegger tonight. We'll be right back.


ZAHN: Now we go back again to the California recall. You just saw pictures of Arnold Schwarzenegger campaigning in Fresno, California, at this hour.

But what is really being talked about today is an old interview from a 1977 edition of "Oui" magazine which is pretty revealing. In the interview, called "Sex Secrets of Bodybuilders," Schwarzenegger is quoted as describing graphically some of his exploits and even describes an incident of group sex. Asked about that interview during a radio appearance last night, Schwarzenegger did not dispute it.

The question is, do we really...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's an old 1977 interview you did with "Oui" magazine out there. And I've got to tell you, Arnold, you were having a lot more fun in 1977 than I was.


SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, you have to understand, I know exactly what you're 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. I was always outrageous. Otherwise, I wouldn't have done the things that I did in my career with the body building and with show business and all those things. I was always out there.


ZAHN: So, do we really want to know about our political leaders' sex lives? And, more to the point, will California voters care about what Arnold Schwarzenegger said and did back in the '70s?

Well, in Washington, we're joined by Tucker Carlson, one of the hosts on the right for CNN's "CROSSFIRE."

Always good to see you, Tucker.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Thanks, Paula. Nice to see you.

ZAHN: Now, was this desired reading for you back in the '70s? Did you catch this the first time around?

CARLSON: You don't know the hours I spent trying to get my hands on "Oui" magazine, always unsuccessfully. I was underage in 1977.

ZAHN: Well, let's talk a little bit about how Arnold dealt with this issue. He confronted it head on today. He didn't dispute it. He said he did some nutty things back in the '70s.

CARLSON: Well, sure.

I guess the bigger point is, he gave the interview in the first place. "Oui" magazine, lamented, departed "Oui" magazine, pretty lowbrow, pretty low-rent magazine, a pretty bold thing of him to do it in the first place. I don't think it hurts him. If there's one state where group sex probably plays pretty well, it's California. And I say that as a native Californian.

I don't know. I could see at this point Gray Davis coming out and saying: Well, you know, I engaged in group sex, too.


CARLSON: Not that anyone would believe him. We had Willie Brown on "CROSSFIRE" today, the mayor of San Francisco.

ZAHN: Oh, come on. Come on, Tucker.


CARLSON: No, truly. He said no one would believe that.

ZAHN: What is the long-term impact of this? You're saying you don't think it is going to have any impact at all? Voters simply won't care?

CARLSON: Think about the idea of voting for Arnold Schwarzenegger in the first place. This is someone who has never been in politics, who makes action movies with explosions and, before that, took lot of steroids to become big. That's not a political resume.

If you're voting for Arnold Schwarzenegger, you're voting against Gray Davis. That's the whole point. He's someone who's maybe at best neutral. But his essence is, he's not Gray Davis. So, sure, I think it's completely plausible that this doesn't hurt him at all.

ZAHN: Well, for the folks who missed this article in 1977, and having gotten our hands on this online today, I wanted to share with our audience just another part of one of the quotes in the article.

Here it is -- quote -- "The title itself wasn't so important to me." This was when he was asked, of course, about what it meant to vie for Mister Universe. He said: "The title itself wasn't so important to me as the lifestyle it brought with it. I was living in Munich at the time, hanging out with night people, entertainers, hookers, and bar owners. And I had a girlfriend who was a stripper."

Your take on that?


CARLSON: Where is she? We'd like to have her on "CROSSFIRE" tomorrow. It's our Friday show. No, look...

ZAHN: We're already looking for her, Tucker. We're going to get there first.

CARLSON: I bet you are.

But that's not surprising at all, given the context of the interview. A lot of the interview -- available online -- is unreadable on television. It's pretty out there. He uses words that just are not used in public in the year 2003. He refers to marijuana as grass. That tells you how old this interview is. So it's all embarrassing. But I just, again, don't think, in the state of California, people are going to care. I found it pretty interesting reading, though.

ZAHN: Well, I bet you did. And so did the rest of us that read it for the first time, because we did miss it in the '70s.

But it wasn't just grass. He talked about his overall use of drugs. And here's a quote from that part of the article: "Grass and hash, no hard drugs. But the point is that I do what I feel like doing. I'm not on a health kick."

There's another excerpt about group sex, where he talked about bodybuilders partying a lot. He said once at Gold's: "There was a black girl who came out naked. Everybody jumped on her, took her upstairs." Now, will the admission of group sex, of all of these things that you read in this article, be the one that hurts the most?

CARLSON: Well, it's pretty -- again, it's pretty over the top. I don't think lot of conservative voters like Arnold Schwarzenegger anyway, because he's pro-choice, he's pro-gay rights. He's essentially a liberal. He's a Bloomberg Democrat. And they knew that already. So this is news from nowhere.

It's hard to imagine a lot of feminists voting for him, as he goes on in the interview to say, he had a girl backstage giving him oral sex right before the competition just to sort of loosen him up. He talks about women like they're, I don't know, just some -- there to service him. It's a pretty outdated attitude, I guess. So he loses the feminist vote. But they're voting for Gray Davis anyway.

So, again, the people who are voting for him, it seems to me, are going to be people who just despise Gray Davis so much, they're willing to ignore the fact that this guy has no political experience or political ideas. If they're willing to ignore that, they'll probably ignore the group sex, too, or they'll like it. It's California.

ZAHN: Hey, Carl -- I mean Tucker -- your last name is Carlson. I'm hearing all these funny things in my ear tonight.


ZAHN: I have to go, because you know what we've got to move on to? We're going actually talk with the man who did this interview back in 1977. So, ta-ta. See you a little bit later.

CARLSON: I'll be watching.

ZAHN: Let's join in with Peter Manso, who joins us right now on the telephone from Provincetown.

Good evening, Peter. Thanks so much for joining us.


ZAHN: Tucker and I just talked a little bit about some of the content in the article. Describe to us what you thought of Arnold when you met him back in 1977. MANSO: Charming. Bright, charming canny. Does that do it?

ZAHN: That does it for starters.

MANSO: Well, I walked away thinking this guy has planned his life out to the very end at age 27.

I mean, one of the things that was very interesting in talking to Arnold was, he was using "Pumping Iron," the documentary on bodybuilding, which was just being released and was really the occasion for the interview, as a stepping stone to Hollywood. He spoke very clearly about how he wanted to become a matinee idol. He was totally lucid in saying that: Hey, you can't be a star forever. And when I get done with that, I will have a business career and perhaps even a political career.

So the people on the right in California, like your other guests, can downplay this thing all they want. And so far as I'm concerned, this interview was an amusement. It was a fun piece. But I'm sure you're aware that there have been a number of other pieces, far more recent, the past three, four years, on Arnold, one, I believe last year in "Esquire." And then there was one in "Premiere" magazine -- which really do address the issue of Arnold's attitude or regard for women, a lack of regard for women.

And I think this is -- as any reporter in California, political type, will tell you that these questions have been floating around in the background ever since Arnold announced his candidacy. And it didn't take my interview really to bring him out.

ZAHN: Well, Peter, I want to put this into context for our audience tonight, because at the top part of my interview with Tucker Carlson, we played a small part of an interview that he had done on radio, where he said: Look, I never lived my life to be a politician and I did some crazy and outrageous things before.

Well, I have just been handed a piece of late-breaking wire that now suggests that Arnold Schwarzenegger is saying something a little bit different at this hour in Fresno.

And let me read it to you. And you can react to it. The direct quote, when asked to respond to the re-release of this article, or people finding it is -- quote -- "I have no idea of what they're talking about." Then he goes -- apparently, he went on three times and said, "That's what I'm doing. 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."

MANSO: Well, isn't that called denial? What do we call it?

The interview was done on tape. It was done by a "Playboy" publication. What can I tell you? If Arnold wants to come on out and challenge the veracity of the piece, let him do so.

ZAHN: But, Peter, isn't this a nondenial denial?


MANSO: I don't know. What do you think?


ZAHN: Well, I don't know. All I have got is what I have just been handed here. And he's not saying it's not true.

MANSO: That's right.

ZAHN: He's just saying, I have no idea what they're talking about.

MANSO: I have been on the phone all day with various media people. And I'm here on the tip of Cape Cod in sunny Provincetown. And I'm basically cut off.

And the reports I'm getting is that, whether it's "The San Francisco Chronicle," "L.A. Times", "Good Morning America," what have you, all these folks have been calling the Schwarzenegger camp for comment. And these people have gone into the basement.

And I think it's a fact of life in American politics that, if someone doesn't categorically deny a story, it's probably fair to assume that they're not denying it.

ZAHN: Well, Peter, who is in custody of these tapes? You said these interviews were taped.

MANSO: They were absolutely taped.

ZAHN: And who has those tapes now?

MANSO: I believe I have the tapes now.

ZAHN: And you say you believe.

MANSO: I'm sorry?

ZAHN: You say you believe you have them.

MANSO: I believe insofar as -- you know, just some background here, I mean, I'm a fairly well respected book author. I've been twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. I mean, I'm an order freak. I keep things.

And this interview was done, what, 25 years ago. What I need to do now is go back into my storage bin and dig this stuff out.

ZAHN: Peter, let me ask you this.

MANSO: What's that?

ZAHN: When Arnold talked about his single life, I want you to describe the tone of his remarks. Was he comfortable talking about this or was this a man with a lot of vibrato? Set the stage for us. MANSO: No, no, no. I mean, I spent probably three, four days with Arnold. Those "Playboy" interviews have reputation for being serious interviews. We take a lot of time.

I did a similar interview with Mayor Ed Koch of New York. You wind up spending 20, 30 hours with these people. It wasn't a one shot, you know, 45-minute deal.

I traveled with Arnold. I traveled with the producer of the film "Pumping iron," George Butler (ph). The actual contact between Arnold and myself, what you're getting at here in terms of the interview, it was a hoot, it was a great deal of fun.

ZAHN: You talked about the...

MANSO: And this interview was not done in a spirit of great seriousness. What struck me at the time is that Arnold, as I say, had planned out his life in a very careful way, as many -- what am I going to say -- immigrants will do. Arnold clearly saw America as, you know, the land of opportunity.

ZAHN: Sure. But governor wasn't on the list at that time.

MANSO: Well, but he did make reference to -- after having a movie career -- having a business career and perhaps even a career in politics. He did say that.

ZAHN: All right. Final question for you tonight. You've been very patient, as we've got you on the phone here as we've gotten this breaking news tonight. You've talked about the level of interest from various reporters in the media. Have you gotten any direct calls today from Mr. Schwarzenegger's campaign?

MANSO: Absolutely not.

ZAHN: You have not?

MANSO: No. I have gotten reports from Europe. I have gotten reports from all over this -- calls from Europe, from all over this country. No, nothing from the Schwarzenegger people. Why would they call me?

ZAHN: I don't know. I was just curious.

MANSO: To try and buy the tapes? I mean, who knows? They're not delight existence of the tapes.

But, you see, I'm not the problem. The problem is that there are number of people out there who seem -- I stress seem -- to be in possession of the same kind of information, which indeed is far more current. I mean, stuff that's taken place in the last five or ten years, not 25 years ago.

ZAHN: Peter, I can only get 10 more seconds, and this is what I'd like to know. If -- why you think it took so long for this article to get discovered, or rediscovered? MANSO: I don't have a clue, frankly. I got called last night by someone. I don't know. I can't answer that. I certainly had nothing to do with it.

ZAHN: Peter Manso, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

MANSO: Thank you.

ZAHN: Interesting conversation. Just to give you a little context tonight, we had planned to speak with Peter Manso, but it was just at the time that I started that interview that we got those late quotes from Fresno coming from the candidate himself.


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