The Washington Times - February 23, 2009, 10:58PM



I caught George Clooney tonight after a very long day at the White House as he emerged from a meeting with Vice President Biden and before he went on Larry King Live.


Clooney, an actor and activist, also got some unexpected face time with President Obama.


Here’s the quick story I filed:


Academy Award winning actor and activist George Clooney met privately Monday night with President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to urge the new administration’s action on the crisis in the Darfur region of the Sudan.

Mr. Clooney told reporters that Mr. Obama said once a foreign policy review is completed he would appoint a “full-time, high-level envoy” to the region to report directly to the White House.

“The administration has assured me that Darfur is one of a small handful of foreign policy reviews being undertaken at the seniormost level,” Mr. Clooney said.

He said the envoy would be “a huge policy step” since in many cases envoys have only been in the region “when the fire starts.”

The actor, who made a documentary highlighting the Darfur conflict and has been outspoken on the issue, said it was “nice to hear” that the region is a priority for the Obama White House.

“There was some concern that this could fall off the radar,” he said. “There’s quite a few other things [the administration is tackling] but they assured me this is high on their agenda.”


Read the full story here.


I asked Clooney if he chatted with POTUS or VPOTUS about other foreign policy matters such as the increase of troops in Afghanistan.


His response: “No, I’m not there as some policy nut. I was just there to tell them what I saw and hope that there was some way that I could amplify anything that they were doing.”


He also detailed his recent visit to the region, saying, “It’s a difficult situation. It’s not going to get much better for a long time.”


 Christina Bellantoni, White House correspondent,
The Washington Times


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