Arnold, Maria: 'Dynamic Optimism'

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver are bringing a "powerful energy" to California, working as a dynamic team as they tackle the state's problems, says writer Marie Brenner.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has defied critics in his first year as governor of California, maintaining a very high approval rating while trying to negotiate the most populous state in the union out of financial ruin.

But the state capital of Sacramento is a far cry from the red carpets of Beverly Hills.

In a rare interview, Schwarzenegger and wife Maria Shriver talked to Vanity Fair writer Marie Brenner about the transition to their new life, and what it means for their future.

"They seem to share a dynamic optimism," Brenner told The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith. "They bring a powerful energy to California. In fact, we're calling them Mr. and Mrs. California.

"Maria studies the issues. She brings the same intensity that she brought to journalism, to all of the issues of California, from stem cells to women. And of course, Arnold could charm anyone. He can sell the Japanese. He can sell to anyone on his agenda."

Smith asked Brenner about an apparent sexual tension in photos of Calfiornia's first couple appearing in the magazine.

"Of course, it's impossible to know what anyone is like truly in a marriage. But when you are with them, you do feel a real connection between them. They talk to each other. They look at each other. They're very engaged with each other. And Maria, particularly, is very open about her feelings about her attraction to her husband all these years later."

Brenner adds that Shriver said she "had always been part of, 'Which Kennedy are you,' a pack mentality. And when Arnold came into her life, she had an instant attraction to him and loved his sense of fun. (She) loved his kind of. 'Get in the convertible, let's ride around. I want to be rich/ I want to be famous.' She said everyone in her life had been so serious, he was a breath of fresh air."

What about the allegations that surfaced during Schwarenegger's campaign that he had groped other women?

'They do not bring up the subject," Brenner says. "But I asked them about it. They do say that it was very painful, but the fact is they have managed to effectively change the subject right back to the business of governing California.

"They pulled together as a team, very much like Bill and Hillary Clinton, and got on to the business of changing California and bringing it back."

Does Schwarzenegger have his eyes on the White House? A constitutional amendment would be needed for him to run.

"Oh, he's been predicting that he will be president since he was on the beach in France in the 1970s as a young bodybuilder. I do think that Arnold is an embodiment of the very tenets of the self-help movement. He sells his life as a kind of a template of achievement," Brenner said.
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