Arnold Schwarzenegger has long combated rumors alleging that he praised Adolf Hitler. In his new autobiography, "Total Recall," the former California governor admits to praising the Nazi leaders speaking style but says he always opposed Hitler's policies.
"I philosophized that only a few men are born to lead, while the rest of humanity is born to follow, and went from that into discussing history's great conquerors and dictators," Schwarzenegger writes in his book. "I admired Hitler's speaking ability, though not what he did with it."
Speculation and criticism over Schwarzenegger's 1977 seminal bodybuilding film, "Pumping Iron." The Hitler exchange was ultimately edited out of the film by director George Butler. While acknowledging the exchange, Schwarzenegger says it was essentially a ruse often employed by the actor, 65, to draw attention to himself.
"Coming up with outrageous things to say was easy because I was always thinking them to keep myself entertained," he writes in Total Recall.
Nonetheless, the Schwarzenegger camp takes issue with the way the quote has been framed by the New York Daily News, in a story titled "Arnold Schwarzenegger admits he once expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler after publicly denying it for years."
"This is a totally misleading and irresponsible headline," Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Ashley Robinson said in a statement provided to Yahoo News. "The governor wrote about something he said over 30 years ago that was reported countless times during his election for governor, that he had strong oratory skills that were abused for power. The headline is a shameless, reprehensible attempt by a tabloid to get attention and web traffic."
During Schwarzenegger's first run for governor of California in 2003, Butler quoted the actor in a book proposal, citing a transcript from "Pumping Iron," during which he asked Schwarzenegger to list his heroes.
"I admired Hitler, for instance, because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education, up to power," Schwarzenegger reportedly said at the time.
However, the Schwarzenegger election campaign pointed out in 2003 that the full transcript of Schwarzenegger's quote shows he clearly distanced himself from any alleged "admiration" of the Nazi dictator.
"Yes, in Germany they used power and authority but it was used in the wrong way," Schwarzenegger said, according to Butler. "But it was misused on the power. First, it started having, I mean, getting Germany out of the great recession and having everybody jobs and so on and then it was just misused. And they said, let's take this country, and so on. That's bad."
Schwarzenegger has been actively involved with pro-Jewish and pro-Israel groups over the years, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center.