George Clooney: Why I won’t run for White House
Published 31/08/2011 | 17:58
George Clooney has ruled himself out of a future role as US President, citing Barack Obama’s current troubles as a reason to avoid the job.
The Hollywood actor campaigned for Obama during the last election and speaks up regularly on political issues, leading some to posit him as the Democrats’ answer to Ronald Reagan.
However, at the Venice Film Festival he shot down the ‘Clooney for President’ rumours once and for all.
“As for me running for President - look, there’s a guy in office who is smarter than anybody you know, and nicer, and he’s having an almost impossible time governing.
“Why would anyone volunteer for that job? I have a very good job. So I have no interest,” he said.
“There are compromises you have to make as a director or actor but they aren’t life-changing for many people. I’m perfectly comfortable with not being the guy whose decisions cost a couple of hundred thousand people their lives.
“Films don’t hurt people. They just get badly reviewed sometimes.”
Clooney’s latest film only fuelled the rumours that he could one day follow Reagan’s path from Hollywood to the Oval Office.
He produced, directed and stars in The Ides of March, a political thriller in which he plays a state governor running for the Democrat presidential nomination. Critics noted that the fictional governor’s liberal views on issues home and abroad bear a great similarity to Clooney’s own political beliefs.
The film exposes the Machiavellian dealings which go on behind the scenes during the presidential primaries. Clooney’s character, outwardly devoted to his wife, finds himself at the centre of a sex scandal.
The project was in gestation for several years but was put on hold when Obama won the election and voters were swept away on a tide of optimism about America’s future.
Clooney said: “We went into pre-production in 2007 and then Barack Obama was elected. This movie was such a cynical look at [politics] that we realised we had to shelve it because everyone was in such a good mood. It took about a year until that was over.”
He said that US politics had become infected with cynicism but “it’s temporary, it always is. Cynicism seems to be winning over idealism right now but I hope that will change soon.”
Clooney, 50, once joked that he could not run for public office because he’d “slept with too many women, done too many drugs and been to too many parties”.
His Ocean’s Eleven co-star, Matt Damon, has also been touted as a possible Presidential candidate after Michael Moore, the Left-wing film-maker, named him as an actor with the makings of a politician. “The Republicans have certainly shown the way - that when you run someone who is popular, you win. Sometimes even when you run an actor,” he said.
“I guess I only throw his name out there because I’d like us to start thinking that way.”