George Clooney can't stop gushing about Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. And while the Academy Award winning actor seems to resist making a formal endorsement, he's offered nothing but praise for the first-term political wunderkind.
In an interview with "Good Morning America Weekend" co-anchor Kate Snow, Clooney explained, "I think [Obama would] be a good president in 2010, 2012 and 2014. I think he's the most charismatic person I've been in a room with in a long time."
Settling in for an hour-long chat with PBS' Charlie Rose, the megastar elaborated. "I think he's the best candidate I've ever seen, I really do," later adding, "I hope he runs. I've only been around a couple of rock star politicians in my life … where … you go, this guy's a president. Clinton is like that. Reagan was like that."
Perhaps the holiday season found Clooney in a particularly giving mood toward Obama, but this isn't the first time the 45-year-old senator and potential presidential contender has found himself the darling of Hollywood.
Oprah and Obama
In October, Oprah Winfrey invited Obama to discuss his best-selling book "The Audacity of Hope" on her show. Obama was the first politician to chat on Oprah's couch since then-Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore made pre-election appearances in 2000.
When asked by the talk-show superstar whether he might run in 2008, Obama deflected by saying his focus was on the 2006 midterm elections. Nevertheless, Oprah has made no qualms about her support, telling CNN's Larry King in September that the senator is her "favorite guy" and encouraging those pushing her to run for president to "take [their] energy and put it in Barack Obama."
Oprah's Web site treats her comments to King an "endorsement" and quotes her from her Obama show saying, "I don't consider myself political and I seldom interview politicians. So when I decided to talk with [Barack], people around me were like, 'What's happened to you?' I said, 'I think this is beyond and above politics.' It feels like something new."
Hollywood Attention Could Harm
But some worry that Hollywood's hot white light might also bring negative attention to the as-yet theoretical Obama candidacy. Clooney told ABC News last week that the senator might not want "a bunch of actors" backing a White House bid, explaining that star power actually hurt his father's bid for Congress in 2004.
"You know, my father ran for Congress two years ago," Clooney told ABC News' Snow. "But … everything was categorized as Hollywood versus the heartland, and I actually hurt him, as he was running as a Democrat in Kentucky." Clooney acknowledged his Obama love could hinder rather than help, acknowledging to ABC News, "I could do damage to Obama. So, I don't necessarily know [that] saying I back him is helpful."
But again this week, Clooney couldn't resist praising Obama on Charlie Rose. "He possesses the one quality that you cannot teach and you can't learn. … He is a leader. He walks into a room and you want to follow him somewhere, anywhere. And … I've only seen that a couple of times in my life." When asked by Rose whether Clooney would do "everything to get him to run and to get the nomination," the actor-director replied, "If he's going to run … look, listen, I'm a Democrat. I'll support whoever has the ticket, but I'm fascinated by him and would love to help." Later in the interview Clooney added, "I would like to participate but only … if I don't hurt who the candidate is."
Too Much Attention?
But Obama, for whom the year 2006 included a second best-selling book ("The Audacity of Hope"), appearances on Leno and Letterman, and introducing ESPN's "Monday Night Football," now has a problem most announced candidates would envy: the potential for too much high-wattage support. The senator will just have to hope the stars continue to align in the new year.
Read more of Kate Snow's "Good Morning America" interview with George Clooney, or hear about the actor-director's latest partnership with former President George H.W. Bush at www.abcnews.com.
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