Clooney Takes the Heat

That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.


George Clooney talks to the Los Angeles Times’ Tina Daunt and reiterates his fear that he could do more harm than good if he campaigns for Barack Obama, his pick among the ’08ers. He cites his own experience watching his father, Nick, run for Congress in 2004. “It became an issue of Hollywood versus the heartland,” Clooney said. His father ultimately lost, and it makes George reticent. “I don’t want to be a hindrance, you know?” His father advised him when Clooney spoke out against sending troops to Iraq in 2003.

“He was like, ‘Grow up. You’re a big kid. You can take this. This isn’t bad. This isn’t anything,’ ” Clooney said. ” ‘Muhammad Ali gave up his [heavyweight champion’s] belt and risked going to prison and had to go to the Supreme Court for something on a much bigger scale — becoming a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War.”

Clooney, however, has no reservations about using his celebrity to call attention to the crisis Darfur, for which he has been raising money.

“If celebrity is a credit card, then I’m using it,” he says.

Obama Advice: Matthew Dowd, the chief adviser to President Bush in his election campaigns, has been particularly praiseworthy of Barack Obama and his message of hope and unity. (For the record, Dowd calls himself a “former Democrat and now a former Republican”). But he has some advice for Obama in the wake of the recent flap over his campaign’s distribution of Hillary Clinton opposition research. “The conduct of his campaign doesn’t match what his words are,” Dowd told those gathered this morning at CAA for a USC Annenberg School conference. “That is a big problem.” Dowd added that “the biggest fault he can have is trying to run a campaign the way it has been done.”

Brother to Brother: Ariel Emanuel, his wife Sarah Addington and Arianna Huffington will throw a cocktail party on Saturday afternoon for Rahm Emanuel and his Our Common Values PAC. The event, at the home of Huffington, has a suggested contribution of $2,500 per person.

The Song of a Soprano: Hillary Clinton unveiled her campaign song today (Celinie Dion’s “You and I”) and along with it an introductory clip that is a riff on the final episode of “The Sopranos.” Johnny Sack has a cameo.

Jack Bauer Justice: In a debate about torture, Justice Antonin Scalia cited Jack Bauer of “24,” sounding like he isn’t quite aware that he’s a fictional character.

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