Clooney Not So Shrewd on ’04 Youth Voting Numbers

In the LA Times (soon to be a Broad sheet?), Tina Daunt looks at George Clooney’s careful approach to supporting Obama. She, mistakenly, emphasizes that Clooney is a “shrewd political observer”:

When you talk with Clooney and the subject turns to politics, it’s like a light going on. He loves the game and the interplay of ideas. “It’s like a chess game,” he said. “Even after Watergate, we had this feeling that it all involved the greater good.” He subscribes to two newspapers and can quote the top political columnists. He remembers the dialogue from old political debates, and he does a great impersonation of Democratic strategist James Carville.

Despite his love of old debates and his Carville impression, seems to be a worse political analyst than he is basketball palyer. By stating that “maybe, for once, [Obama] could get young people to show up and vote” Clooney reveals ignorance of a basic fact of the 2004 election– the upswing in young people’s voting in 2004. (“The turnout rate among people ages 18 to 24 increased by 11 points — to 47 percent” in 2004.) Daunt, and her editors, also seem in the dark, for there is not correction.

Clooney’s attraction to Obama explained:

[Clooney] said in an interview, he would love to throw himself into campaigning for his friend, Sen. Barack Obama, a politician he compares to President Kennedy.

But Clooney is too shrewd a political observer to discount the negative effect celebrity can have on a campaign, especially in a red state…Clooney is playing it close to the vest, waiting to see if he can play a part without become a distracting sideshow. His quandary is a measure of Hollywood’s growing political sophistication; celebs are beginning to understand that their support can be a double-edged sword….[Clooney said] “I’ve never been around anyone who can literally take someone’s breath away.”

Although the actor may not be campaigning publicly for Obama at the moment, he is certainly working for him behind the scenes.

“I spend a lot of time talking with other people, and I tell them, ‘You really have to educate yourself on Obama because the guy is real,’ ” he said. “He fascinates me. People say, ‘Oh, he’s too young,’ you know. But you cannot learn or teach leadership. You either have it or you don’t.”

“Everyone says the country isn’t ready for a black president. I think that’s ridiculous. Is he going to lose Illinois? Is he going to lose New York or California because he’s black? No. And maybe he makes some inroads into other places…”

(Cross-posted from ObamaMedia)

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