Just like old times, throngs of tourists packed the Capitol rotunda in Sacramento to catch a glimpse of Arnold Schwarzenegger, on hand Monday to attend a ceremony to unveil his official portrait as governor of California.
Schwarzenegger revealed the portrait nearly four years after he left office. Among the political notables at the event were several former state Assembly speakers.
The portrait was done by Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein, a realist who previously illustrated Andy Warhol and John F. Kennedy. It portrait will eventually hang on the third floor of the building next to the portrait of his recalled predecessor, Gray Davis.
Schwarzenegger, a movie star before he ran for governor in the chaotic recall election of 2005, said he owes all his successes in life to California, which he called a mythical place "where nothing is impossible.'' As a boy growing up in Austria, he dreamed about the state, he said.
"I dreamt about California every day, and I knew that one day I would have to come here to this beautiful state if I wanted to make my dreams a reality,'' he said.
Schwarzenegger said that while he always dreamed big, he never envisioned his portrait hanging in the state Capitol, joking, "I might have envisioned a sculpture on Muscle Beach.''
Months after Schwarzenegger left office, embarrassing revelations emerged about an affair he had with his maid that resulted in a son born out of wedlock. The disclosure devastated his marriage to Maria Shriver.
Since then, Schwarzenegger has largely committed to a Hollywood comeback. He appeared in this summer's "The Expendables 3,'' and returns to his cyborg assassin character in a new "Terminator'' film due out next year.
Schwarzenegger previously told The Associated Press that he has no plans to run for elected office again.
"I never wanted to be a career politician,'' he said.