Celebrities Who Flirted With Politics

PHOTO: Nick Clooney speaks during a screening of "The China Syndrome," at The Newseum, April 19, 2011, in Washington, DC.
Kris Connor/Getty Images

Ashley Judd recently contemplated moving from the silver screen to C-SPAN, dropping hints about a possible run for the U.S. Senate before deciding not to run. She is not the first celebrity to tease us by sniffing around a bid for office. Take a look at some of the other famous faces who were rumored to run thanks to their interest in our nation's political process.

PHOTO: Alec Baldwin arrives at the 2012 AFI FEST - "Rise Of The Guardians" premiere held at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Nov. 4, 2012 in Hollywood.
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Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin has no reservations when it comes to broadcasting his political views on Twitter, but could he turn opinion into action?

Rumors of a Baldwin candidacy for mayor of New York City have been going on for years, but there has been no solid confirmation from the actor himself.

Talks of Baldwin's future in politics hit an all-time high when the Long Island native voiced strong interest in becoming better educated about government and policy in a 2011 interview with the New York Times. Baldwin also said he wanted to learn more about what a mayoral position would entail and was hoping to enroll in a master's program focused on government policy at a top university.

So far, there is no news of Baldwin's enrollment in a graduate program, nor has the actor made any public statements about campaign plans in the coming years.

PHOTO: Michael Douglas lands at John F. Kennedy Airport, February 23, 2013, in New York City.
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Michael Douglas

Michael Douglas' portrayal of President Andrew Shepherd in "The American President" wasn't too far from the actor's real-life political leaning. As a staunch Democrat, Douglas has been involved in politics both on a national and an international level, making him the subject of diplomatic candidacy rumors.

Apart from voicing support for candidates including Barack Obama and Al Franken, Douglas is an international proponent of peace. In 1998, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed him as the U.N. peace ambassador, launching Douglas's involvement in peacekeeping diplomacy.

In 2010, any other diplomatic plans Douglas may have had were put on hold when he was diagnosed with throat cancer, which required that he undergo chemotherapy. Currently, Douglas is on the board of directors at Ploughshare Fund, an anti-war foundation, and is vocal about nuclear disarmament.

PHOTO: Jon Stewart speaks onstage at Comedy Central's night of too many stars: America comes together for autism programs, Oct. 13, 2012 in New York City.
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Jon Stewart

Suggestions of Jon Stewart's presidential candidacy make their rounds in discussions every election year, but as with most subjects, the television host and comedian refuses to take the idea seriously.

Stewart continues to play a major role in politics as a satirical journalist and political activist. While hosting a slew of politicians and influencers on "The Daily Show," Stewart also authored two politically-themed books and partnered with Stephen Colbert for the 2010 Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, which was held at the National Mall.

Responses to the rally were varied, but there was no denial of Stewart's political insinuations. He later said that the purpose of the event was to demonstrate how partisanship created conflict within the American public.

Despite continuous fan support, Stewart will be distancing himself from politics even more this summer. Earlier this month, he announced that he would be taking a summer hiatus from "The Daily Show" in order to direct a movie.

Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert has flirted with political prospects numerous times over the course of the past few years.

In 2007, Colbert hinted at a possible presidential run and announced his candidacy in his home state of South Carolina, where he would run as a "favorite son" candidate. Colbert initially planned to run on both Democratic and Republican party platforms but settled on the Democratic Party after learning about the required Republican filing fee. As a Democratic candidate, Colbert campaigned in South Carolina and asked viewers to "vote" by donating to an online charity.

Four years later, Colbert announced the creation of his Super PAC, called ColbertPAC. The PAC filing request was officially granted by the FEC in May 2011. When Colbert became a presidential candidate in the state of South Carolina once again later that year, he signed off ownership of his PAC to Jon Stewart. From then on, he referred to the committee as "The Definitely Not Coordinating with Stephen Colbert Super PAC".

Colbert was never elected into office, and after dropping out of the 2012 presidential race, he encouraged people to vote for Republican Herman Cain.

Most recently, Colbert was mentioned, perhaps jokingly, as a possible pick to replace Jim DeMint in the U.S. Senate representing South Carolina. Gov. Nikki Haley rejected Colbert over his ignorance of the state drink -- milk -- opting for now-Sen. Tim Scott.

Colbert's sister, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, is set to face Mark Sanford, the winner of Tuesday's Republican run-off, in a May 7 special election for Scott's House seat.

PHOTO: Actor/director George Clooney speaks onstage at the 85th Annual Academy Awards, Feb. 24, 2013 in Hollywood.
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George Clooney

Over the years, George Clooney has made clear that his interests extend beyond Hollywood. The actor has been a politically active figure for both national and international causes, and has supported numerous politicians, including President Obama.

Currently, Clooney is part of the Not on our Watch Project, which aims to bring global attention to prevent mass atrocities and was on the frontlines of fundraising for Haiti relief after the 2010 earthquake. He has also spoken out in favor of marriage equality by playing attorney David Boies in a re-enactment of the trial that overturned the Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage.

On the international front, Clooney has dedicated the majority of his time to advocating a resolution for the conflict in Darfur. In 2006, he spent more than a week in Sudan and Chad filming a documentary that depicted the problems facing Darfur's refugees. His advocacy of the issue led him to meetings with the president and the United Nations Security Council.

His activism has only added to his bad-boy image. In 2012, Clooney was arrested on grounds of civil disobedience during a protest outside the Sudanese embassy. He brushed off the blight on his record, saying many other historic figures, like Martin Luther King Jr., were also arrested during peaceful protests.

Given all of his experience, talks of a Clooney candidacy for political office circulate regularly, but continue to be rooted in speculation.

PHOTO: Nick Clooney speaks during a screening of "The China Syndrome," at The Newseum, April 19, 2011, in Washington, DC.
Kris Connor/Getty Images
BONUS CLOONEY: George Clooney's dad, Nick Clooney

Like his son, Nick Clooney has made waves in both the media and the political arena.

After an unsuccessful attempt at getting into show business, Nick Clooney moved to Ohio, where he hosted his own morning talk show, "The Nick Clooney Show." In 1974, he became known nationally as the host of the ABC show "The Money Maze," but returned to being a journalist when the show was cancelled a year later.

In 2004, Nick Clooney ran for a seat in the House of Representatives in Kentucky's 4th Congressional District. The conservative district was previously represented by moderate Democrat, Ken Lucas, making Clooney a favorite to win against Republican Geoff Davis.

Despite maintaining an early lead, Clooney lost to Davis by 10 percentage points after being portrayed as an extension of his famous son in the local media.

The father was arrested right alongside the son during the protest in 2012.

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