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Photo: Henning Kaiser/dpa via AP

BONN, Germany -- Former California governor, actor and bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger told a crowd of climate activists this week they're doing it all wrong. They need to talk about health and pollution, not climate change.

The big picture: This conference, hosted by the United Nations, is all about the threat that rising temperatures pose to the world and what can be done to address it. Outside this bubble and especially within the United States, polling shows most people don't care as much about the problem. Furthermore, Republicans in Washington and in many states across the U.S. either don't acknowledge it's a real issue or don't prioritize it much.

Key quote: "You can have the best product in the world, but if you don't know how to communicate it, you have nothing," Schwarzenegger, a Republican, said on a panel Monday with Democratic governors from Washington, Oregon and Virginia. "I believe we are messaging the wrong way."

Gritty details: Schwarzenegger said surveys asking people if they care about climate change turns up results far lower than when you ask if they care about pollution. "You talk about climate change, it sounds good, a lot of people know about it within this bubble, but the majority of people, ask them in a poll, they don't know what the hell you're talking about," Schwarzenegger said.

I spoke with Schwarzenegger for a few minutes after his remarks, and I asked him if he thinks his comment got across to his fellow panelists, all of whom kept emphasizing climate change.

"It is just something to digest," Schwarzenegger said. "When you have been on the wrong track for so long and you keep talking about climate change, but then you realize all of a sudden that doesn't mean anything to people."

He said he can help do to the environmental movement what he helped do with the bodybuilding world.

"In fitness, in bodybuilding it took me decades, but now there is a gymnasium everywhere, every hotel in the world has a gymnasium, every military station, every university, every school," Schwarzenegger said. "Everyone has weight rooms because we penetrated through and told them why weight training is important and the same thing will happen with the environment movement."

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”