[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/07/art.bopenn0407.gi.jpg caption="Actor Kal Penn, shown in this file photo greeting Obama just days before his inauguration, will be joining the White House Office of Public Liaison."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Actor and longtime Obama supporter Kal Penn is joining the Obama administration, the White House confirmed to CNN Tuesday.
The actor will be part of the White House Office of Public Liaison, which is run by Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. Penn will be primarily involved in dealing with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and the arts community.
Penn's new gig was first reported by EW.com, which shares parent company Time Warner with CNN.
Penn told EW.com that the new position comes after some soul-searching.
There was "'something aching in me to do something completely different and take a break from the acting thing for a while'" Penn said he told the executive producers of the TV series "House" when he explained his decision to get involved with politics full-time.
The actor also said his interest in politics has deep roots. "I've been thinking about [moving into politics] for a while. I love what I do as an actor. I couldn't love it more. . . . .probably from the time I was a kid, I really enjoyed that balance between the arts and public service."
"It's probably because of the value system my grandparents instilled in me. They marched with Gandhi in the Indian independence movement, and that was always in the back of my head. So the past couple of years I thought about it a little more."
But Penn also is leaving the door open to returning to acting at some later point. "Who's to say where any path leads? I still have a passion for it. But for the time being, I won't be acting," Penn told EW.com
Penn endorsed Obama's White House bid in late 2007, and was a frequent campaign surrogate on the trail last year.
That's called true public service. This guy didn't have to do this, and he will surely be giving up a lot of money to serve. Kudos to him.
President Obama's sensitivity to all persons is astounding.
The line between entertainment and politics blurs yet further.
I can just see it now... "Kumar and Obama go to White Castle!" that would be an awesome spoof. I bet it will be done by SNL in a few weeks.
Great, now we have actors joining the administration. No offense, but I'd rather hear about what qualifications he has other than being an Obama supporter.
Good for him! While I'm sad that there won't be a Harold and Kumar 3, this guy is clearly committed to what he believes in to walk away from easy wealth as an actor to actually serve his country.
What's next? Sean Penn appointed as special envoy to Venezuela?
They should send this guy to Treasury, I hear there are still a few openings.
Congratulations Mr. Penn!! I've enjoyed your work as an actor and look forward to you doing great things in the Obama Administration!
God Bless President Obama, VP Biden and the First Families!
Harold and Kumar go to Washington!!!!
I was wondering why he was killed off HOUSE, M.D.! At least I feel a little bit better about it. WOW!
Great! We need advocacy and liaisons in bridging cultural and ethnic inclusion in this country. Kal is a hottie and he's very politically astute. Good to see a celebrity step up to do something meaningful.
Probably the most qualified individual in the Obama administration. Yeesh.
It's good news for Obama, but bad news for House fans. I really enjoy Penn on the show and will miss him as part of the ensemble.
But I wish him good luck. He's a fine actor and should be able to return any time he wants.
Obama and Kumar go to White Castle III. I'm an Obama supporter but couldn't resist throwing a joke in. I'm glad to hear someone find a purpose with their already successful life.
Going to give obama some acting lesson so he read the telepromter, and get rid if the HMM and HAWS went asked a question.
Good for him!
Another person who's experience seems to only be that he knows how to "pretend" to be something else.
WAKE UP AMERICA!!
whta a waste of talent.
So it will be harold and kumar goes to washington , i will miss this cat being in the movies , he was funny.
Congrats on your new adventure Mr. Pen!
Maybe he will be a Muslim translater or maybe a good will ambassador to the Muslim nations. Hope he has his prayer run and Koran ready.
Oh my gosh – congratulations !!!! we were so shocked last night when Kal Penn's character died in last nights episode.
We are all celebrating now upon hearing the news – What a career move – good for you
So, he's going from White Castle to the White House.
Or... He's going from working with a white guy named House to working in the White House.
Kal leaves one House for another. Way to go!
Kutner lives! (Yay, Penn!)