The former governor has been out of the spotlight since revealing he had fathered a child with his housekeeper.
He was back Thursday night delivering the key note address at the American Chamber of Commerce Executive's Convention.
There was a standing ovation for Schwarzenegger, who's been out of the public eye for months. It was his first speech since admitting in May that he fathered an out-of-wedlock son with his former housekeeper, Mildred Baena.
Addressing a business group in downtown Los Angeles, Schwarzenegger didn't mention the scandal or his marital problems with Maria Shriver.
Instead he gave a more rosy account of his years as governor. The moderate Republican warned about the dangers of political gridlock using a quote from President Eisenhower.
"He said that politics is like a road, the center is usable, and the left and the right represents the gutter and this is exactly what it is," said Schwarzenegger.
His speech comes in the midst of his divorce with Shriver. Their settlement is being worked out with their attorneys behind closed doors.
Initially Schwarzenegger did not want to pay Shriver spousal support, but has since changed his mind. He's also clarified his willingness to pay her legal fees.
Schwarzenegger appeared comfortable with the crowd, even making a few jokes about his future.
"I'm going to run in 2012," said the former governor. "I'm going to run for president of the National Body Building Association."
But Schwarzenegger may want to focus on image re-building if he's serious about returning to public life.
"I think he was very dishonest, and disrespectful to his wife and his family," said L.A. resident Philomena Bernard.
Only time will tell if the "Governator" can win back support where he wants it the most- at the box office. Schwarzenegger is slated to appear in the upcoming Lionsgate film "Last Stand."
Schwarzenegger has also returned to Twitter after a brief hiatus, thanking the Chamber of Commerice after the event for working round the clock to improve the community.