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Arnie for president...of local bodybuilding club

Arnold Schwarzenegger is making a comeback.

The former California governor made his first speech in the state since confirming in May that he had fathered a son from an affair with a housemaid.

Once among the most public of men, Schwarzenegger has appeared in public only sporadically in recent months.

In the days after he split with wife Maria Shriver, he told his talent agency to postpone his movie projects.

His Twitter account - once busy with posts and photos from afar - fell out of use. He hired a divorce lawyer, and the former Hollywood star known to crave the spotlight went into a self-imposed exile to sort out his problems.

That's slowly changing.

He started tweeting again in late June when he travelled to his native Austria for an environmental conference.


Last month, he announced he would return to acting with a starring role in the Last Stand, playing a border-town sheriff who unwittingly finds himself battling a notorious drug kingpin on the run.

He never mentioned his marital problems in his appearance before a business group at a downtown hotel, or his admission of fathering his now-teenage son with the former maid, Mildred Baena.

The crowd gave him a standing ovation, and applauded him warmly after he recounted how he teamed up with business leaders to reform the state's workers' compensation laws.

Sporting a deep tan, he joked that he was running for president in 2012 -- of a bodybuilding association.

Speaking for about 10 minutes, the moderate Republican warned about the dangers of political gridlock, telling the group that partisan division was choking progress in California and Washington.

"We have too many of the legislators that are too far to the right or too far to the left, and therefore nothing gets done," he said.


The speech comes in the midst of his divorce, which is unfolding largely behind closed doors.

Last month he withdrew a request for a judge to terminate Shriver's right to spousal support, and he clarified that he was willing to pay for his estranged wife's attorney.