Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger stepped back in the political arena on Monday hosting a forum at the USC Institute named for him. Sen. John McCain and other notable political and film stars joined the discussion. Conan Nolan reports from USC for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sept. 24, 2012.
He's off the gossip pages and back in politics. But former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't running for anything.
Now the actor-turned-politician is presiding over a forum at the new USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy.
"When one of our brave men and women leave for Iraq or Afghanistan, where ever they go around the world, they risk their life," said Schwarzenegger. "And if they can risk their life for our country, why wouldn't a politician risk their office for making the right decision."
For the former governor, it's a chance to escape the gossip page and get back into policy. Monday, he brought together star power from politics and entertainment for the debut forum at his new USC Institute.
"There's going to be major scandals, because there's too many billions of dollars washing around our political campaigns," said Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who shared his ideas on campaign finance at the forum.
High-power music producer Jimmy Iovine was there, too, making the case that the demise of the music industry has done nothing to improve the quality of the art form.
"They've got Twitter, Facebook, but the content is provided by the consumer," said Iovine. "It's user-generated content, all of it, but they need culture."
Schwarzenegger did not make himself available for questions from reporters, perhaps sensing that it would distract from the event.
But we'll soon be hearing a lot more from the one-time action-adventure movie star. The former governor will start a book tour next week, and he'll be featured on CBS's 60 Minutes.
For those involved Monday, the event was well-received. And it seemed to reflect Schwarzenegger's philosophy of not waiting for permission to take action.
"If you can get the cities of the world together, and the states and provinces of the world together, maybe you can make change that way and sort of go around national governments," said Schwarzenegger biographer Joe Mathews. "That's new, that's interesting."