A retired four-star general spoke to Iowa delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Boston this morning, but it was a movie star who received the most attention.
Former presidential candidate Wesley Clark drew applause from Iowans this morning, but actor Ben Affleck drew louder applause and laughter from his speech. Afterrwards, he was mobbed by Iowa Democrats who snapped picture after picture of the movie star.
“Mr. Affleck, this didn’t happen with Mr. Clark. Why?” Radio Iowa news director O.Kay Henderson asked.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Affleck said, laughing. “Mr. Clark’s extremely charismatic. I think he’s sexy, to be perfectly honest.”
A little later, amid the mayhem, Affeck leaned back toward Henderson, made eye contact and touched her arm to deliver a line before his exit from the room.
“Maybe people are a little intimidated by the General,” Affleck said. “He’s imposing and seems serious. I don’t think people confer the same kind of gravitas on me.”
‘Can we get a picture?” another Iowan asked.
”Sure, take the picture,” Affleck replied. As you may know, Affleck is from Boston and won an Academy Award for writing the screen play for “Good Will Hunting” with pal Matt Damon. What you may not know is that Affleck has expressed interest in running for office himself some day.
During his speech, Affleck criticized the tax cut President Bush enacted for America’s wealthy, saying as a movie star he could have spared the money to help pay for health care for “everyday Americans,” to buy proper equipment for American soldiers serving overseas and to provide real tax relief for the middle class.
“One of the reasons why I’m here is not to bore you but, in fact, to thank you,” Affleck said to Iowans. “The folks sitting in this room are probably some of the folks most directly responsible for where we are right now and who’s at this convention and I just want to thank you folks in Iowa for making John Kerry the nominee for President of the United States.
“Iowans are known for being politically active, for being mindful of politics and for setting the trend, for leading a trail and you’ve done that.”
The retired four-star general who did run for president this past year lauded Iowans for shaping the campaign debate.
“Never before has this party been so unified, so resolved, so determined to change the leadership in America,” Clark said.
Clark made two trips to Iowa in late 2003, and he said Iowans had steered the campaign debate.
“You saw first,” Clark said. “You expressed first the feeling that something was really wrong with the direction that the United States was being taken in by the Bush Administration. You expressed an outrage. You expressed a determination. You expressed a resolve to change this government, and it carried all the way through the primaries and it’s building and it’s coming across now to the American people.”
Clark was showered with knowing laughter when he misidentified former President Woodrow Wilson as leading the country during World War II. Clark threw his hands up, and grabbed both sides of his head.
“It was a great night last night,” Clark said, laughing, as the crowd hooted and clapped. [Photo by UPI]