Danson to Hit the Road for Clinton Again
By Juliet Eilperin
During a speech Thursday at the National Press Club, actor Ted Danson finally admitted why he and his wife, Mary Steenburgen, are working so hard to elect Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) president: They're running low on those cool Camp David mugs.
Okay, that's a little bit of an exaggeration -- but not much. When asked about the prospect of Clinton taking office next year, Danson told the audience, "You know, it's the mugs from Camp David that I really want. We've been breaking them, and I miss them."
Danson, who became famous by playing Sam Malone on the sitcom "Cheers," also gave a candid assessment of what it's like to spend a night in the Lincoln Bedroom, where he and Steenburgen stayed in the Clinton administration: "It's like sleeping in a gymnasium." (Still, he called it "a real honor.")
Danson and Steenburgen -- who grew up with Bill Clinton in Arkansas -- have campaigned on Hillary Clinton's behalf in Iowa and San Francisco and on Martha's Vineyard. With Clinton still locked in a tight primary battle with Sen. Barack Obama, the Hollywood couple plan to hit the trail again in Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania in the weeks to come.
"I take my hat off to Senator Clinton, to being the first woman in this situation, because there's a double standard. I throw my shoe at the TV a lot," Danson said, explaining he becomes enraged when pundits describe her as being aggressive when they would never characterize a male candidate that way for attacking his opponent. "Luckily, it doesn't seem to faze her a bit."
And Danson offered his own prediction on the role the former president would play if his wife won the presidency: philanthropist in chief. "He's the busiest person on the planet doing public service, so I can't imagine him giving any of that up," he said.
Danson -- who sits on the board of the environmental group Oceana -- spent most of his speech discussing oceans policy, urging international trade negotiators to end the $20 billion a year in fishing subsidies foreign governments provide. He also argued that U.S. officials need to push harder to end overfishing and the pollution that has contaminated the fish Americans eat with mercury and other toxins.
"All science is saying we're on the brink of an irreversible collapse, and we've been trending that way for the last 20 years," he told the crowd of mostly journalists. "The oceans are in great peril, but they are fixable."
But while most of his talk was serious, Danson was more than willing to make fun of himself on occasion. When asked the question, "Why are Hollywood figures allowed to lead social movements?" he replied without missing a beat, "Just because." Then, in case anyone missed the joke, Danson added, "We're not."
Washington Post editors
February 15, 2008; 10:34 AM ET
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