Ben Affleck says he won't run for office, following Senate question
Ben Affleck has put the kibosh on the idea of a possible run for the United States Senate, following a TV interview in which he did not rule out the prospect.
The 40-year-old "Argo" actor and director, who has been involved in efforts to aid those affected by violence in Eastern Congo and has even lobbied Congress about it, made his latest comments in a message posted on his Facebook page on Monday afternoon.
"I love Massachusetts and our political process, but I am not running for office," wrote Affleck, who is from the state but lives in Los Angeles. "Right now it's a privilege to spend my time working with Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), supporting our veterans, drawing attention to the great many who go hungry in the U.S. everyday and using filmmaking to entertain and foster discussion about issues like our relationship to Iran."
"We are about to get a great Secretary of State and there are some phenomenal candidates in Massachusetts for his Senate seat. I look forward to an amazing campaign. Happy Holidays to All. (Make sure to visit Feeding America & A-T Children's Project & Paralyzed Veterans of America)"
Last week, during a recent interview on CBS' "Face The Nation," host Bob Schieffer asked Affleck about the possibility of a political run.
He said one of Massachusetts senators and former presidential contender John Kerry was a possible candidate for secretary of state and that viewers had suggested that the actor run for the Senate seat that would be vacated if he got the position. President Barack Obama nominated Kerry for the post officially on Friday.
"I have a great fondness and admiration for the political process in this country," Affleck answered. "It's a big deal for me to come down here and be on your show that I've watched so much but I'm not going to get into speculation about my political future."
Affleck, like Kerry and Obama, is a Democrat and has since 2007 donated at least $12,000 to Democratic party purposes, including the president's first election campaign.
"Right now, I'm really happy being involved from the outside ... advocating for the Congolese, taking this movie that I made, 'Argo,'" he added in the "Face The Nation" interview. "It's really become a springboard for dialogue about our relationship with Iran ... so I got a lot on my plate."
"Argo" depicts the true life story of the 1979 hostage crisis at the American embassy in Tehran, which was taken over by Islamic militants during the Iranian revolution.
Nowadays, Iran continues to dominate world headlines. The United States and other Western nations say Iran is developing a nuclear weapons capability that could threaten Israel, its enemy. The Islamic country says its uranium enrichment work is for research purposes. Tension and speculation of possible military strikes have mounted over the past few years.
Obama said in mid-November, following his re-election: "I will try to make a push in the coming months to see if we can open up a dialogue between Iran and - not just us but the international community - to see if we can get this thing resolved. We're not going let Iran get a nuclear weapon, but I think there is still a window of time for us to resolve this diplomatically."
Affleck majored in Middle Eastern Studies when he was a student at Occidental College in Los Angeles and dropped out to focus on his acting career. He has in recent years also stepped behind the camera.
The actor directs "Argo" and also plays CIA operative Tony Mendez, who leads an operation to try and get the six hostages out of the country by having his team pretend to be a Canadian film crew. "Argo" also stars Bryan Cranston, John Goodman and Alan Arkin. (Check out 7 facts about Ben Affleck and "Argo".)
The movie has made more than $162.6 million worldwide since it was released in mid-October. It was also nominated for five Golden Globes -- Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Director for Affleck, Best Screenplay for Chris Terrio, Best Original Song for Alexandre Desplat and Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for Arkin. (Check out a full list of 2013 Golden Globe nominations.)
This is the third Golden Globe nomination for Affleck and the first for Best Director and Best Motion Picture. It is also the first time he has been nominated for an award ceremony's top movie prize. Affleck won his first Golden Globe in 1998, sharing the award for Best Screenplay with Matt Damon for "Good Will Hunting," for which they also won Oscars.
Affleck has been honored for his directorial skills before -- in 2007, the National Board of Review awarded the prize for Best Directorial Debut to the actor for "Gone Baby Gone."
Watch the trailer for "Argo" below.