It may seem as if most entertainment industry figures are aligning with Barack Obama and just a few with John McCain, but there are still a handful of famous names who are still on the fence. And both campaigns are well aware of one star who stands out among the undecideds: Angelina Jolie.
Both campaigns have reached out to her, apparently to court her support. But in a statement to Variety provided by political adviser Trevor Neilson, Jolie says that she is waiting to make up her mind.
“I have not decided on a candidate,” Jolie says, “I am waiting to see the commitments they will make on issues like international justice, refugees and how to address the needs of children in crisis around the world.”
Unlike many other celebrity endorsements, Jolie’s carries the weight and influence of her extensive humanitarian work around the world, as the goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Her statement was an indication that she would be open to choosing a candidate.
That was in evidence earlier this year after her trip to Iraq, when she wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post, “Staying to Help in Iraq,” in which she argued that the U.S. should step up financial and material assistance to Iraq — not withdraw from its commitment in the region.
She wrote, “My visit left me even more deeply convinced that we not only have a moral obligation to help displaced Iraqi families, but also a serious, long-term, national security interest in ending this crisis.
“Today’s humanitarian crisis in Iraq — and the potential consequences for our national security — are great. Can the United States afford to gamble that 4 million or more poor and displaced people, in the heart of Middle East, won’t explode in violent desperation, sending the whole region into further disorder?”
“What we cannot afford, in my view, is to squander the progress that has been made.”
She did, however, “call on each of the presidential candidates and congressional leaders to announce a comprehensive refugee plan with a specific timeline and budget as part of their Iraq strategy.”
Her call for a continued U.S. presence left some conservative blogs buzzing that Jolie may in fact endorse McCain — after some had just assumed that she would back Obama.
Jolie has said very little about the presidential race since.
In June, when Entertainment Weekly asked her whether she talked politics with Clint Eastwood, a longtime Republican, on the set of the upcoming movie, “The Changeling,” she said, “Actually, we don’t disagree as much as you’d think. I think people assume I’m a Democrat. But I’m registered independent and I’m still undecided. So I’m looking at McCain as well as Obama.”
Jolie’s father, Jon Voight, has endorsed McCain and recently wrote an op-ed for the Washington Times highly critical of Obama.