PENSACOLA, Fla. - Academy Award winning actor Jon Voight threw his support behind Mitt Romney today, telling a crowd of hundreds at a local restaurant that Newt Gingrich "falls short" of having the characteristics needed to run the White House.
"Governor Romney is a man of faith, honor, love, and truth," said Voight. "These are the first very important qualities a president must have. He is strong, honest, and wants to bring the country back to its exceptional place, where we have been for hundreds and hundreds of years, until President Obama decided to follow his father's footsteps and take us to socialism."
"I'm sorry to say Speaker Gingrich may fall short in many ways," said Voight. "Please join me to bring in Gov. Mitt Romney as the next President of the United States."
Voight, who has been outspoken about his disdain for President Obama, wrote an open letter to the president last year, accusing him of "promoting anti-Semitism around the world."
Today, Voight was far less inflammatory, but seemed to hint at his often provocative language when he first approached the microphone, remarking, "Watch Governor Romney's face."
Romney could then be heard saying, "Uh oh, what's he going to do? What's he going to do?"
Sen. John McCain joined Voight at the Fish House, a local seafood restaurant, where the two men sang Romney's praises and emphasized the importance of strengthening the nation's military.
Before Romney launched into his own criticism of Obama's foreign policy, he joked that he "didn't know how to chit chat with a famous actor" like Voight.
"I started talking about my five boys," said Romney of his conversation with Voight. "I said, you know, it's easier to raise boys than girls. Well, after a long pause, he says, 'Tell me about it.'"
Voight is the father of actress and one-time Hollywood bad girl Angelina Jolie.
Quickly returning to his message, speaking at an event dubbed as a rally for veterans, Romney slammed Obama for "reducing the military," saying that the only way someone can justify doing it is "by hiding from reality."
"So much is at stake, so much is at stake. How can you possibly imagine cutting back the scale and the capacity of America's military," said Romney. "I can't imagine it. Look around the world."
"I think he has a view that America is in decline, and that the best course for America is to appease and accommodate the worst actors in the world - I'm not referring to anyone you know Jon - I'm talking about people like Ahmadinejad, and Castro and Chavez and Kim Jong-un, and all the people who threaten the world. And so he opens a hand to them," Romney said.
Voight is no stranger to Florida presidential primaries. He endorsed then-candidate Rudy Giuliani four years ago ahead of the Sunshine State's nominating contest.
Giuliani went on to lose Florida, coming in third place, far behind John McCain and the second-place finisher that year, Mitt Romney and dropped out one day after his disappointing Florida loss and endorsed McCain.