December 28th, 2007
12:46 PM ET
10 years ago

Richardson to hit the trail with a 'former president'

Martin Sheen, aka former President Josiah Bartlet, is hitting the trail with Richardson.

Martin Sheen, AKA former President Josiah Bartlet, is hitting the trail with Richardson.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hillary Clinton isn't the only White House hopeful to barnstorm Iowa with a former president this year.

Former TV President Josiah Bartlet, also known as actor Martin Sheen, is set to hit the trail with Bill Richardson this weekend. Sheen announced his support for Richardson earlier this month, hailing the New Mexico governor as "ready for prime time."

Sheen is no stranger to the White House - at least, not the Hollywood version. He has played the President of the United States at least four times: in addition to his run on The West Wing, Sheen played the commander-in-chief in the 1983 mini-series Kennedy, the 1987 TV movie Medusa's Child, and the 1983 movie The Dead Zone.

"I am looking forward to Martin showing me around the White House, and I hope I can serve as many terms in the White House as his characters have," said Richardson.

But it's unclear whether Sheen's endorsement will pay off at the polls. In 2004, when he was a TV "sitting president," Sheen campaigned for Howard Dean - the onetime Democratic frontrunner whose campaign quickly fizzled when the primary season began.

UPDATE: More than one member of the Bartlet administration is set to campaign in Iowa this weekend. Richard Schiff, Bartlet's hardened Communications Director Toby Ziegler on the show, will campaign with Democrat Joe Biden, the Delaware senator's campaign announced.

“The West Wing inspired its audience to seek the kind of presidential leadership that is based on experience, judgment, wisdom, and conscience,” Schiff said.

"Iowa, and America, need Joe Biden because he is ready to lead from Day One and in the high-stakes world we live in, there are no re-takes.”

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Bill Richardson • Iowa • Joe Biden
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Ali A. Akbar

    I loved The West Wing, however we all know Sheen is a little on the crazy side. Richardson is now pandering to the far left. I've lost a lot of respect for him.


    December 28, 2007 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  2. Walt, Belton, TX

    Two losers don't make a winner!

    December 28, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  3. Frank, Dayton, Ohio

    I liked Martin Sheen's various portrayals of the president. Since he is Hispanic himself, his endorsement of Bill Richardson comes as no surprise. However, if he examines the total picture, BARACK OBAMA is Josiah Barlet's real-life counterpart: progressive, pragmatic, and erudite.

    December 28, 2007 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Can we leave the celebraties out of the election please? I don't care who it is stumping for any of these candidate. The actors should stick with that, and the sports people should stick to their sports. It is nice that they have an opinion, but they should not be any more counted than me. I wish there would be a candidate that would ask my opinion. Wouldn't it make sense for candidates to go to a location and have some one from that spot be there to say why the support the candidate? I guess not to most people.

    December 28, 2007 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. Brian, Syracuse NY

    Unless Richardson makes a "Dean scream" the media can overplay about a million times, then there is no comparison.

    December 28, 2007 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  6. Betty Tolsma

    No true! Martin Sheen DOES indeed have a brain. Richardson is an excellent man and an excellent choice.

    December 28, 2007 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  7. josh lyman

    martin sheen should run for president with aaron sorkin as his communications director. bartlet/hoynes 2008!

    December 28, 2007 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  8. glider187

    Hear here, Joe Biden is the only candidate ready for primtime!

    Pledge today at

    December 28, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  9. Matthew, Minneapolis, MN

    Thank You for publishing this CNN. Bill Richardson has the qualifications to become president, in spite of other people being negative.

    December 28, 2007 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  10. Sara

    I'm one of those quiet voters....i like to read – i consider myself a middle of the road kind of person.

    Since the beginning of this marathon muck-race, I've leaned towards Richardson.

    He's smart, has a GREAT deal of the right kind of experience and has proven to me to be a very thoughtful and considerate gentleman.

    He's not one of the the regular, boring, say anything to get elected "pol-o-crats" that are 'in the show' now.

    He's had my vote since the beginning and with the Dem Pack-Rats and Republican Beat-the-Evangelical-Drum-Bells all acting and talking as boring as yesterday's rain, he's still going to get my vote.

    No, I'm not an "operative". I'll leave that nonsense to the professional politicians – dem and repubs alike.

    Best of luck, Mr. Richardson.

    December 28, 2007 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  11. David

    Sigh...Sheen has gotten more conservative with age. I wish he had stayed true to his convictions and backed Kucinich.

    December 28, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  12. Matt, Freehold, NJ

    It is nice to finally see Richardson get at least a fraction of the visibility he deserves.

    December 28, 2007 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. John New York, NY

    The biggest tragedy of this campaign is how Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson failed to articulate that they are, indeed, the most experienced candidates.

    While Bill Clinton took credit for things like gun control laws and the Violence Against Women Act, he basically put his signature on bills that members of Congress like Dodd, Biden and Richardson worked very hard to produce.

    They allowed Hillary Clinton to mislead voters and say she is the only one who is "ready to lead"- whatever that means.

    Oh well, Hillary Clinton thought the 2008 nomination battle would be "Snow Hillary and the Seven Dwarfs."

    It didn't turn out that way, thankfully. She is more like the Evil Stepmother with Obama as Prince Charming.

    December 28, 2007 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  14. Mike NYC

    Martin Sheen is a GREAT actor but his political endorsement is as good as an anti-endorsement to me. Not unlike (but more so) than Oprah's.

    December 28, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. Matt

    Thank you Hollywood! I will vote for whichever candidate whose endorsing actor uses the best TV/Film cliche to promote their endorsee.

    Sheen's "ready for prime-time" and Schiff's "there are no re-takes" are tied for dead last at the minute though...

    this is another typical example of the sad state our political "system" has sunk to.

    December 28, 2007 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. Aidyn, NY

    I love Martin Sheen to bad he endorse Richardson. I still love the West Wing.

    December 28, 2007 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  17. john king

    Forget about Richardson - he's a loser. Remember how he falsely accused and imprisoned the Los Alamos scientist Wen Ho?

    December 28, 2007 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. betsy

    It was good to see a Hollywood name choose to endorse Joe Biden.... If we could just get his word out to more people, it would show that he is ready and out of the candidates, he is the only one qualified to lead our country when it comes to the world and where we now stand in the world. Our current adminstration has alienated us from many countries. We need someone who can sit down and talk to those leaders and revive our credibility with our global neighbors.

    December 28, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  19. Jacque Bauer, Los Angeles, CA

    Mr. Estévez is a washed up, out-of-work former drug addict who raised such beacons of paragon as Charlie Sheen. My 7-year old nephew played George Washington in his school play, which makes him about as qualified to make political pronouncements.

    Estévez follows the wisdom of Rosie; let's not forget his quote about 9/11: "I did not want to believe that my government could possibly be involved in such a thing, I could not live in a country that I thought could do that – that would be the ultimate betrayal. However, there have been so many revelations that now I have my doubts, and chief among them is Building 7 – how did they rig that building so that it came down on the evening of the day?"

    Why would any reputable news outlet give any credence to such bafoons? (The answer, of course, lies in the question).

    December 28, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. Independent in IA

    Figures.....Richardson as proof that evolution does run backwards, and his new side-kick Sheen...who's been arrested more times than Cindy Sheehan. Is she next up?

    December 28, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  21. Patrick

    I wonder if Aaron Sorkin, Martin Sheen, and the others associated with The West Wing realize that they helped re-elect Bush in 2004. The portrayal of a White House filled with intelligent, articulate individuals working to serve the public interest (with the occasional bit of self-interest) bathed the country in a warm blanket of comfort.

    Then when viewers turned on the real news and saw the real president, they projected the images they saw on The West Wing and were reassured.

    December 28, 2007 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  22. Todd C. Wilmington, DE

    Bill Richardson is running for President??

    December 28, 2007 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. Hey Jude

    I'm a Hillary supporter. However, this country would be well served by
    Bill Richardson, Joe Biden or Chris Dodd. Such a wealth of talent and

    December 28, 2007 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. Dave Diamond, Mont Vernon, NH

    and this matters why?

    December 28, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  25. Elaine N. Ramey

    So Martin Sheen supports Bill____who, Richardson?. Perhaps he can find a place for him in his show, the West Wing. Mr. Sheen is a busy person and not retired like me.
    In this most critical time in our history there is Only one candidate that supports ALL OF THE PEOPLE and that candidate is John Edwards.
    President Jihn Edwards will bring about real positive change. With ALL OTHERS, it will be business as usual.
    kEEPp in mind John Edwards favorite Bible quote--"As you have done it unto the LEAST OF THE, YOU HAVE DONE IT UNTO ME.'

    December 28, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
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