Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


West Wing star campaigns for Obama on campus

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“West Wing” actor Bradley Whitford came to the University of Wisconsin campus Monday to advocate Democratic candidate Barack Obama for president.

The former star of the hit TV series emphasized the importance of voting in the upcoming election, calling it “the most urgent election in history.”


“You guys are going to deal with the consequences of this, and your children are going to have to deal with the consequences of this for the rest of your life,” Whitford said.

Whitford believes Obama is capable of handling the recent economic problems and will do a better job than Republican candidate John McCain would do if elected into office.

“You need a president who can hold in his mind two opposing thoughts,” Whitford said. “One is capitalism … the greatest engine for the liberation of humanity from poverty … but you also need rules or … all the productive impulses turn into selfishness.”

Whitford believes Obama is the candidate that can balance the concerns of both parties.

“Republicans think that Democrats are insane and Democrats think Republicans are insane, and people have been unable to talk,” said Whitford. “One thing Barack Obama has been able to do is begin that conversation.”

Kirsten Kukowski, communications director for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, opposed Whitford’s positions on these points.

“We disagree on policies, especially with capitalism and the economy, but Sen. McCain crossed party lines and did work with the Democrats to improve the economy,” said Kukowski. “Sen. Obama does not have a record of doing that.”

Whitford issued a disclaimer expressing his reservations about actors, or “people who wear makeup for a living”, talking about political issues. But in this case, he was addressing the audience as a father, saying that his main concern is the effect this election will have on his children’s future.

The actor said when he was growing up in the 1960s, there was an unspoken assumption that the world would become a better place and the institutions of government would gradually improve, but said his children do not have this assumption.

Despite the seriousness of his campaign, Whitford injected slices of comedy into his speech.

“I think it has been very difficult to run against Republicans recently because they ridiculously have owned God and the flag,” said Whitford. “And it’s really hard to run against that. In fact, when my son was four, we drove by a house and there was an American flag and he goes, ‘They’re for Bush!'”

Whitford also subtly mentioned the Republican Party would lead the country into bankruptcy.

“I don’t think you should rush into war,” said Whitford. “That’s not conservative.” Neither is driving the nation into debt or the national security plan, he added.

Kukowski challenged Whitford’s accusations, explaining McCain’s conservative economic plan contrasted Obama’s liberal one.

“Sen. McCain will issue a freeze in spending so we get a hold on what is priority to spend on,” said Kukowski. “Sen. Obama proposed nearly a trillion dollars in new spending. For Whitford to be talking about debt, he should look at his own candidate first.”

Whitford expressed his excitement for the upcoming election and said Wisconsin has a great influence in getting a candidate elected.

“Hopefully, Madison will compensate for … ‘pro-American’ areas,” Whitford said, mocking a statement made by Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Whitford calls people “lucky” to be able to have a say in such an important election and encourages people to vote early and encourage others to vote.

“Go into a booth and overthrow your government,” Whitford said.

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