You could call it a coming out party. Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was back in public Thursday night, months after his personal life forced him out of the spotlight.
The American Chamber of Commerce invited him to their L.A. Live event to give him an award for supporting business. He tried to find some humor in the awkward situation.
"I'm gonna run in 2012," Schwarzenegger told a cheering American Chamber of Commerce Audience at L.A. Live. "I'm gonna run for President of the National Bodybuilding Association."
That got some laughs. But not everyone was laughing. In fact, not everyone was even there.
"People actually did not come to this event because they were upset about that," said Tuesdae Knight, a San Antonio, Texas attendee. "You know what, he's a politician, and he made an awful mistake."
Schwarzenegger's behavior has left the once popular star susceptible to criticism. There's his impending divorce from Maria Shriver, his fathering a child with a member of his household staff, and then there's the Esteban Nunez affair.
The former governor pardoned the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, who was serving time for manslaughter, in the waning hours of his administration. And he failed to notify the family of stabbing victim Luis Santos that he was taking that controversial action.
This is all new territory for Schwarzenegger, whose popularity helped him make a seamless transition from acting to politics. So what's next? Schwarzenegger gave the Chamber crowd a hint.
"Thank all of you for being here today," Schwarzengger told the crowd as he left the stage. "Hasta la vista and I'll be back."