ABC’s Sarah Amos reports: Sure he wasn’t Oprah, or a rock star for that matter, but the two-day campaign trip actor Martin Sheen planned to make to Iowa Sunday sure had Governor Bill Richardson excited.
Sheen, who played President Jeb Bartlett on the popular "West Wing" television series, is a long-time activist and supporter of the democratic party, and one of the most popular fictional Presidents to date. The actor had planned to fly out Sunday morning with his grandson to endorse Richardson and give the campaign a last minute boost before Thursday’s caucus.
Unfortunately for Richardson, and all those Iowans who bought the "West Wing" DVD for the ‘former President’ to sign, Sheen came down with a severe and contagious cold, according to a statement put out by the Richardson campaign. The statement went on to say that Sheen’s doctor had forbidden him from flying, therefore grounding any campaigning plans Sheen might have had.
"I am deeply sorry for not being able to join Governor Richardson in Iowa – I believe with all of my heart that he is the candidate we must elect as the next President of the United States," said Sheen in the released statement. Sheen also apologized to the people of Iowa and urged that they still go out and caucus for Richardson on January 3rd.
Richardson’s excitement for Sheen’s visit was evident Saturday as he giddily told the Iowa crowds about his upcoming campaign visitor.
"We are moving up in the campaign, we are surging, and guess who is coming tomorrow to campaign for your candidate Bill Richardson? Who is coming tomorrow, is the real "president" of West Wing, Martin Sheen. He will be here tomorrow and we will be in Ames, we will be in Des Moines," Richardson told one crowd Saturday morning.
Of course, Richardson is still planning to attend all scheduled events Sunday and is probably hoping that Iowans with their hearts set on Sheen, will still attend as well.
Sheen is not the only star of the West Wing TV series with plans to hit the trail in Iowa this week. Actor Richard Schiff, who played the long suffering presidential aide Toby Ziegler on the program, is campaigning for Senator Joe Biden.