Guess who’s one of Barack Obama’s foreign-policy advisers? According to the Daily Mail, it’s that other celebrity hunk, George Clooney. According to their sources, Clooney advises Obama on a regular basis through phone calls and text messages, and not just on looking his best in front of the cameras:
But Democratic Party insiders have revealed that Clooney and Obama regularly send texts and emails to each other and speak by phone at least twice a week.
One said last night: ‘They are extremely close. A number of members of the Hollywood community, including Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, offered to help raise funds for Barack but it was with George that he struck up this amazing affinity.
‘George has been giving him advice on things such as presentation, public speaking and body language and he also emails him constantly about policy, especially the Middle East.
‘George is pushing him to be more “balanced” on issues such as US relations with Israel. … [T]hey text and email each other almost every day and speak on the phone at least a couple of times a week, often more.’
Obama already has 300 foreign policy advisers. What’s one more? Too many chefs can spoil the broth, but no kitchen could hold this throng anyway. Where would they plan to meet, Thermopylae?
In this case, though, Clooney seems to be right at home in Obama’s neighborhood. Jeremiah Wright often republished pro-Palestinian rants in the Trinity newsletters. Obama had to fire Robert Malley after he admitted that he had remained in regular contact with Hamas, which the US lists as a terrorist organization. Before he ran for the presidency, Obama openly sympathized with the Palestinians, although afterwards he explained that he had to be pro-Israel because he has Jewish friends.
Clooney also recently announced that he would produce a film about the detention of Salim Hamdan, recently convicted of providing material support to al-Qaeda after five years of detention at Guantanamo Bay. It seems rather doubtful that Clooney will take the position that the US treated Hamdan too leniently. Fortunately for Obama, Clooney’s smart enough not to have the film opening this year.
Clooney has tried keeping the relationship quiet, but has also scheduled a high-stakes fundraiser for Obama in Switzerland for September 2nd, when Obama might otherwise have been campaigning in America. Maybe by that time, Clooney can also get Obama’s running mate to appear for him in Geneva. Given their text-messaging relationship, perhaps Clooney might be Obama’s first pick for VP.
Update: George Clooney denies ever texting Obama:
The Obama-Clooney story was concocted from anonymous sources. Yet it spread throughout the world within hours. It was quickly picked up by The Drudge Report and television networks ranging from Fox News to NBC. The overall result served to bolster Republican candidate John McCain’s dubious contention that his rival Obama is a vapid “celebrity” rather than presidential material.
Clooney responded to the article with humor: “”I have never texted or e-mailed Sen. Obama,” he said in a statement. “And I’ll offer a million dollars to anyone who could prove otherwise.[“]
Jeffrey Ressner spends the rest of his Politico piece griping about the story being “concocted from anonymous sources”. Ressner must not read newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post, among many who routinely run stories “concocted” thusly. Nevertheless, Clooney does deny it, and with some humor, as he says he’s actually spent more time with McCain than Obama.
Update II: Jeffrey sends me a pretty funny note saying I misquoted him slightly; I wrote that he said “concocted by anonymous sources”, when he wrote from. I should have cut and pasted it, which would have avoided the problem. What the heck would it mean to have stories concocted by anonymous sources — that the Daily Mail left the doors open at night so strangers could write their articles? Hmmm ….