Nearly two years after he left office, sullied by his commutation of a prison sentence and by an extramarital affair, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is selling.
In Los Angeles a week ago to inaugurate the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy, Schwarzenegger surrounded himself with academics and politicians, suggesting his continued interest in public affairs.
He did a "60 Minutes" interview Sunday, before the release today of his heavily promoted autobiography, "Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story."
The book - including a largely sympathetic account of Schwarzenegger's years as governor and a chapter addressing his affair with a member of his household staff - had been planned for years. It comes as Schwarzenegger tries to rehabilitate his sunken image.
"The question is, what's his motive?" said Barbara O'Connor, a political analyst and friend of Schwarzenegger's estranged wife, Maria Shriver. "If your motive is to clear the decks and move forward on items like this, that's best done in private with your family. If your motive is publicity and narcissism, then you write a book like this."
The contents of the book began to dribble out last week.
Schwarzenegger, 65, says he had sex with his housekeeper in 1996, when Shriver and their children were on vacation and he was home finishing the movie "Batman & Robin."
The affair, which resulted in a child, was hidden by Schwarzenegger for more than a decade, until Shriver confronted him in a meeting with a marriage counselor the morning after he left office.
"The minute we sat down, the therapist turned to me and said, 'Maria wanted to come here today to ask about a child - whether you've fathered a child with your housekeeper Mildred,' " Schwarzenegger says in the book.
"In the initial instant, when time seemed to stand still, I said to myself, 'Well, Arnold, you wanted to tell her. Surprise! This is it. Here's your moment. Maybe it's the only way you'd ever have the nerve.'
"I told the therapist, 'It's true.' "
Schwarzenegger acknowledges another "hot affair" years earlier with actress Brigitte Nielsen, when he and she were filming the 1985 movie "Red Sonja."
Schwarzenegger says the affair, which occurred while he was in a relationship with Shriver, was a "fling" that only "underlined what I already knew: I wanted Maria to be my wife."
He says he is still in love with Shriver and is optimistic about a reconciliation.
Shriver, of the prominent Kennedy clan, moved out of the family's Brentwood home and filed for divorce last year.
A Shriver spokesman declined to comment.
The revelation of the affair briefly set back Schwarzenegger's return to acting, but he appeared recently in "The Expendables 2" and has two upcoming movies, "The Tomb" and "The Last Stand."
At the conclusion of his "60 minutes" interview Sunday, Schwarzenegger was asked if he was "just moving forward again now? Just plow ahead?"
"If you would have asked me 10 years ago, five years ago, two years ago, what is the most important thing in my life, I would tell you over and over, 'It's my marriage, it's my family,' " Schwarzenegger said. "So the thing that really meant the most to me kinda fell apart because of my doing. That is something that I will always look back and say, 'How could you have done that?' "
In the promotion of his book and of his institute, Schwarzenegger once again is selling. It is a trade he practiced while peddling ice cream near his childhood home in Austria and marketing supplements as a bodybuilder.