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Tuesday, 13 February, 2001, 00:27 GMT
Sheen slates 'bad comic' Bush
Actor Martin Sheen with the cast of The West Wing
Martin Sheen is long-time supporter of the Democrats
US actor Martin Sheen, who plays the US president in hit series The West Wing, has said he cannot bear politics and that George W Bush is a "moron".

Speaking to the Radio Times, Sheen, 60, said he could not imagine why anyone would want to become president, adding he was bewildered by last year's drawn-out election.

Mr Bush won the closest US election in more than a century last November, after a drawn-out legal battle in Florida.

The actor, best known for his role in Apocalypse Now, stars in the fictional White House-based TV series, which recently swept the Emmy awards.

George W Bush
George W Bush: Does not command Sheen's respect
Sheen, a prominent Democrat Party supporter, did not mince his words about the Republican president.

"George W Bush is like a bad comic working the crowd, a moron, if you'll pardon the expression," he said.

He also said the role as president was not one he found remotely desirable.

"Your life is over as soon as you say you want to occupy the Oval Office," he said.

"We elect an institution, the family of the guy, his entourage. He has to be someone with enormous ego who fancies he'll have an impact on history."

'Oddball'

The actor has been arrested 70 times for his involvement in protests for issues such as nuclear disarmament and homelessness.

He went on to also criticise the US, saying "Alcoholics Anonymous and jazz are the only original things of importance" it has exported to the rest of the world.

But the West Wing star did lavish praise on President John F Kennedy, whom he played in a TV drama in 1983.

"These stories of womanising that unravelled after his death made him more substantial and human to me," he said.

"We idealise our leaders, raise them up so we have the power to knock them down. The American psyche is oddball.

"As soon as a man becomes president, suddenly there's no more original sin - as if he isn't going to have a sex life."

'Enormous love'

He also said there was a lot of hypocrisy in politics and he was proud of "fighting it and not giving in".

"I have such an enormous love and respect for him, a heroic man," he said.

"I'm afraid that's a minority view in America, but as time goes by he'll have a different image when we realise his contribution," the actor added.

It is not the first time Sheen has hit headlines with his views.

Last September he endorsed the views of Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman that Hollywood is obsessed with sex and violence.

Sheen, speaking during a visit to his hometown to raise money for the Democratic Party, said: "Half the business called Hollywood is sleaze."

He added: "A lot of what we do has very little to do with art. It has to do with sleaze and gratuitous sex and unnecessary violence."

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See also:

25 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Sheen attacks Hollywood 'sleaze'
11 Sep 00 | Entertainment
The West Wing sweeps Emmys
14 Dec 00 | Americas
Bush to lead a nation divided
14 Aug 00 | Americas
Lieberman attacks Hollywood
14 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Hollywood's Democratic love affair
16 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Dreyfuss dismisses Hollywood attack
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