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. Dan (Columbia, MD)

    Surprise surprise.

    Left wing socialists supporting left wing socialists.

    Big whoop.

    December 28, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    Biden is indeed very capable. Although, Bill Clinton asked him to write the crime bill – it's not like it was his idea that he offered. So, get real John in NY. The President sets the agenda – period.

    December 28, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  3. micki SCHLOSS

    Thank you Richard Schiff (Toby Ziegler), the most intelligent and thoughtful member of the Bartlett administration.

    Joe Biden is the only candidate that can hit the ground running. To me he has always demonstrated a straight shooting, no-nonsense, heart-felt, and very intelligent approach to this country's problems.

    Why don't the people see that? I guess not enough of them watch THE NEWS HOUR with Jim Lehrer on PBS.

    I hope you help Senator Biden get into the top layer of Democratic candidates and that he goes on to become our president.

    Good thinking, planning, execution, and, above all, luck.

    micki SCHLOSS
    Los Angeles, CA

    December 28, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |


    December 28, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Valdez

    "I'm just a Bill. Yes I'm only a Bill." Nice try Mr. Richardson.

    December 28, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. john williams san diego, ca.

    Richardson was a failure as U.N. Ambassador, failure as energy sec, and a failure as Gov. for allowing unfettered illegal aliens access to our country. If any 'sheen' endorses him that's another failure.

    December 28, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. Kelly

    Richardson as Energy Secretary dismissed (fired) Lee from his position at LANL based on the information he had been given about Lee's (alleged) illegal activities. The Department of Justice would have been responsible for the indictment and imprisonment.

    December 28, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. Tim S.

    I was at the Botanical Center in Des Moines to hear Gov. Richardson this morning.
    I was reassured again, hearing him that he is truly the right person for the job of President. He is the most qualified, down to earth and realistic candidate. I believe he is the one that can get this country back on track and moving in a positive direction. Unfortunately, he has quite a mess to clean up after this failed Republican group leaves.

    December 28, 2007 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. James, Las Cruces, NM

    Richardson is unfortunately an also-ran but Martin Sheen is a moron.

    Richardson may well run as a vice president for the Latino vote and he does have some good ideas. Like another poster said, though, he has failed to articulate them. He held back on entering the race because he swore up and down in New Mexico that he wouldn't run for president. (Might be the first broken campaign promise.) So he did things behind the scenes like pose in big tourism billboard photos that were displayed in places like New York City. Everyone in New Mexico knew he was going to run even if he would deny it to us.

    I don't that any of the nominees really appear presidential. But then, look what kind of sick joke we have in the White House now. Hardly a president by any measure. He can't speak. He can't think. And he can't do much of anything that isn't scripted for him. Hell, he can't even ride a bicycle.

    Ok, I guess by that measure, the kid down the street looks presidential.

    December 28, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  10. cameron

    I agree with Mike NYC. Martin Sheen's political endorsement is as good as an anti-endorsement, equal to that of Oprah's. I am so tired of celebrities trying to get votes using their fame. This is so sad and makes me feel ill. Most actors are a joke when it comes to politics and anything serious. They like to use their name and image when its convenient and advantageous for them. They are just actors, pretending to be someone else in a movie. What makes them so great. I'm not sure why people hang on to every word they speak. They have an army of people and publicists telling them what to say, and writing most of the words they speak or publish. They live a life of luxury with every little whim taken care of by others, and are completely out of touch with ordinary people. Hmmm, sounds a bit like politicians. It's so phoney and meaningless, but I guess image and celebrity is what politics is all about now.

    December 28, 2007 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. Scott Moyer-Kalamazoo, MI

    While I have always admired Richardson (though I am an Edwards supporter) I have to ask, who the hec cares who Sheen, Wimphrey, Streisand or any other celebrity supports. If you're basing your vote off celebrity opinion and endorsement it's time for you to get out of the DNA gene pool. Do us all a favor and stay home on election day.

    December 28, 2007 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. Kelly

    Fictional president Josiah Bartlet is my ideal politician. Why doesn't someone hire Aaron Sorkin as their speech writer?

    December 28, 2007 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. Ronald, Little Compton, RI

    Oprah's doing it, why can't Sheen? Even if all of the west wing fans vote for Richardson, he'll still fall short. This may be just another ploy to fill a huge hollywood ego.

    December 28, 2007 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. Lezident, Portland, ME

    Well what do you make of this new term, "Lezident" ? as in

    I mean that's what they're saying out there even though it's not true, right? why are people like that? i don't get it.

    December 28, 2007 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. Corbett, Seattle WA

    To the entire Richardson camp:

    I love you guys! You have a top tier candidate in bottom tier polls. There is nothing wrong with Richardson that a $500 million campaign budget couldn't fix. In a season without Obama he would be elevated to Hillary-rival status. He has made a great go with not one but two decks of cards stacked against him.

    You can hate me for saying this, but I honestly think that Hillary or Obama will make a fine president and Richardson will either be a pretty cool VP or a total rock star of a Secretary of State.

    I know that right now that fate does not seem acceptable to you all. Still, having Richardson in either of those positions will be an incredible benefit to the U.S. and if that happens we will all thank you. Because Bill Richardson would not be up for any of those jobs Prez, Vice Prez or Sec-State if you guys had not placed him on the national radar.

    Good Work!

    December 28, 2007 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. Connie, Tn.

    Richardson and Biden have more "experience" than the front runners. At least more foreign experience. If change is what is wanted, Obama would be the one.

    December 28, 2007 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. Thea

    Sorry. Martin Sheen didn't play the president in "Dead Zone". He was a maniacal right-wing presidential hopeful whose cowardice was exposed after he tried to use a small child as a shield from a sniper's bullet. He never came to power.

    December 28, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. Adam, Sacramento

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

    Lets see high level nuclear secrets thought to be getting into chinese hands. A scientist who is chinese violating security protocols with the same classified information. Lock him down. I'ld make the same call considering the national security implications of the leak and good circumstantial evidence pointing to Mr. Ho's capability to having been that leak in having downloaded the data to non secure portable locations. I believe Richardson made the right call to the evidence in front of him.

    In the end Mr. Ho got cleared after what under 9 mos serving 1 more day in jail than his plea bargain sentence. Ohh woe is me.

    Personally I'm greatful there was a swift crackdown on the illegal downloading of classified data and in the end Ho served the sentence time for the crime he pleaded guilty to. Was there a huge risk if he had been transferring that information he illegally downloaded to china. Yes.

    What they had on him was that he had copied BOMB designs while working at los alamos. I'ld lock him down and sort through the details later myself. What wasn't proven was that he was transferring what he copied. That copying a nuke design just nets under a year in prison is more distrubing than someone doing it getting locked down for 278 days if you ask me.

    Would I make the same call Richardson did, absolutely. It is also a great example of our justice system working through the details and resolving the situation in 278 days. He wasn't tortured or renditioned just put in solitary as the case was worked out.

    December 28, 2007 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  19. Carmen

    And the line between politics and entertainment becomes a little blurrier. "I'm not a political scientist, but I play one on TV..."

    I'm torn between Clinton and Edwards, CNN. Why don't you report who Brittney Spears is endorsing to help boost me off the fence?

    December 28, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. Druie Cavender

    John from NY is absolutely correct. The three most-qualified candidates for the Democratic nomination are (in order) Biden, Dodd, and Richardson and not Clinton, Obama, and Edwards. Hopefully, all the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire will finally realize this and not let the mass media make their choices for them. I thought that Republicans were the sheep, not the Democrats!

    December 28, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. Walt, Belton, TX

    Another excellent reason NOT to vote for Bill Richardson........

    December 28, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. James, Houston,TX.

    Martin Sheen is closer to the Heart Beat of the American People than Geo.w. Bush or Ronald Reagan hoped to be. Well, Ronald had Alzheimer and Bush is the Effect . But , its really the Red States that Caused it All. Something to do with the PNAC! Bill Richardson its all Yours! Take IT!

    December 28, 2007 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  23. Josh

    What I do not understand this is that all of you guys continue to discuss vary of things without BACKING up your sources or supports. Negative or positive, where have the lightheartedness have gone to in this world espically the American Politics?

    December 28, 2007 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  24. northofdenali

    john king said: "Forget about Richardson — he's a loser. Remember how he falsely accused and imprisoned the Los Alamos scientist Wen Ho?"

    Sorry, john – Richardson merely followed up on the FEDERAL accusations against Wen Ho, and could not, as Energy Secretary, have imprisoned him. Wen Ho was imprisoned on Federal charges, and eventually pled guilty to lesser charges than actual espionage. Additionally, john, here's a quote and a link for you from the MIT National Security, Civil Rights and Politics: Lessons Learned from the Wen Ho Lee Case Panel:

    "Panelist Vernon Loeb, national security correspondent at the Washington Post, described himself as a "representative of the press decrying press leaks. In Wen Ho Lee's case, the leaks were damaging to him, to the nation, to the Department of Energy and to the national labs. Without the leaks, Wen Ho Lee would never have been charged with 'faux espionage.' No one in history had ever been charged with doing what he did. Under the pressure of the glare of publicity, the FBI could not add up facts and draw any conclusion other than espionage."

    I'd like to know what the FBI (Dept. of Justice) has to do with the Department of Energy and how Gov. Richardson (then Energy Secretary) could do anything but believe the FBI's investigation?

    It's fairly easy, john, to Google the FACTS; apparently to you, it's more simple to make them up.

    December 28, 2007 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  25. judy

    but who has Biden "ticked" off to the extent he is not the frontrunner he should be.he would be a candidate of conviction and strength particularly in international relations..

    December 28, 2007 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
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