George Clooney has been making the publicity rounds since his recent trip to the Chad-Sudan border. He pretty much gave a press conference after his meeting with Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama – Clooney himself announced that Obama was appointing a special envoy to Sudan, to deal with the ongoing, five-year genocide that has displaced millions and killed more than 200,000 civilians.
One of Clooney’s press stops was Larry King Live. Now, I rarely watch Larry King anymore because I think Larry is stepping into gargoyle territory. But the CNN website posts highlights and transcripts from Larry King’s shows, and if it’s an interesting guest, it’s fun to skim them.
Clooney talks about Darfur, of course, almost all of the information we covered yesterday. But Clooney also talked a little about other stuff, including a dismissal of NYT‘s Nicholas Kristof‘s reporting that Clooney‘s UN security detail was pulled. Here are some highlights, courtesy of CNN:
King: What scale of interest did Biden show [in Darfur]?
Clooney: Biden has been incredibly vocal on the issue. We had a long talk about the idea of, first and foremost, appointing a high level, full-time envoy that reports directly to the White House so that it’s not just temporary. We need somebody working on this, you know, every day — getting up every morning with their sole job to find peace in the area.
King: What did you see last week?
Clooney: It was rough. You know, it’s always rough over there. You feel terrible for them. They’re hanging on by a thread.
We saw an awful lot of fear. There was [also] a tremendous amount of hope. You know, there was a lot of hope that these indictments and this new administration are going to be able to help move the international community toward a real peace.
King: How do you handle just meeting with these people and seeing this tragedy? Personally, how do you handle it?
Clooney: I could tell you a million stories about how it actually affects you personally. But I don’t think people should be going there and coming back and saying how it affected them. I think somehow we should all know that these people are hanging on by the skin of their teeth.
King: Was your safety in jeopardy?
Clooney: Oh, you’re talking about the U.N. story.
King: Yes. What, they pulled your security, right?
Clooney: I was never in jeopardy. I was with journalists who wanted to go into some areas that weren’t particularly safe. And we decided that we would go. And that wasn’t necessarily part of what the U.N. was looking to do. And so we just went on our own. It was fine. I wanted to say something, also, Larry, which I forgot to say about what I just did today. I delivered 250,000 postcards signed by people all across the country who wanted to help give some political capital to and remind this administration of how important this issue is. It was from the Save Darfur people. But it’s from all across the country. And we’re probably going to have another 700,000 by the end of the week.
King: What specifically, George, do you want Secretary of State Clinton and the administration to do?
Clooney: It doesn’t appear that the United States is going to send troops in or that the U.N. Is going to send in an army to do this. What it really means is that we’re going to need diplomacy. And diplomacy has to start and it has to be aggressive and it has to start soon. We have an opportunity here.
King: One other quick thing. Are you going to be in the final presentation of “E.R. ?”
Clooney: Actually, I’m doing a remake of “Friends,” which — I didn’t want to break the news.
King: Oh, my gosh.
Clooney: I’m going be playing the Jennifer Aniston role.
Interesting, right? I liked the part about the postcards sent from concerned people around the country – it seems like something that President Obama would respond to. I also liked how Clooney doesn’t really blame this administration or a past administration for not sending American troops into Darfur. Those are the kind of suggestions that send even sympathetic people running. No one wants a replay of Somalia in 1993.
Something that goes unspoken – and I haven’t seen this anywhere else – is that Clooney’s hairline during this interview is… weird. Like, he seems to have re-grown about an inch of his hair line. If it’s hairplugs, it’s really good work. If it’s a toupee, it’s a high-quality one. Something’s happening up there, I know it.