Arnold Schwarzenegger's Checkered Past

The closest I ever came to expressing admiration for Adolf Hitler (search) was laughing very hard at Mel Brooks' Springtime for Hitler (search).

So I can't give Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) a pass on what were clearly unsupportable statements he made to a wannabe biographer in 1975 when he said Hitler had a Horatio Alger (search) aspect to his life.

But I do know something about the time when Arnold was making those statements, when he was allegedly groping women who happened to get near him either in the gym or on the movie set.

I know I don't want to be held all that accountable for things I did and said back then. It was a different time. Remember the sexual revolution (search)? Hey... women participated in that too, and it certainly did get the guys fired up.

I was writing a gossip column for the Hollywood Reporter, a daily trade paper during just those years when Arnold was digging the hole in which he now finds himself.

People would literally say or do anything to get a little attention, to get some buzz, to get in the columns. If you're an unknown with an alphabet-long name and a thick accent... you had to go extra outrageous to get anyone to pay attention.

I know because I used to run items in my column about this strange muscle guy named Arnold whatever... way back when.

Now... the question for Californians... is it better to take one of their own — a guy with a checkered past who seems to have come through it okay — as their new governor... or stick with the old guy who they don't much like?

Things are always complicated in my home state.

That's My Word.

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