Entries in Ben Affleck (4)


Ben Affleck Won’t Be Running for Senate

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Those hoping the United States Senate may get a little less gray and a bit more celebrity-studded won’t be getting their Christmas miracle today.

Despite speculation, Ben Affleck announced late Monday he would not go after John Kerry’s Senate seat in his native Massachusetts if the senator is confirmed as secretary of state.

The actor, who has been an increasingly popular presence in the political world recently, wrote on his Facebook page: “I love Massachusetts and our political process, but I am not running for office.”

Chatter around a possible run went into overdrive Sunday when during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation” the Cambridge native decidedly did not rule it out saying, “One never knows. I’m not one to get into conjecture.”

In the post he mentions his charity work in the Congo, something he discussed on ABC’s This Week as well as testifying before Congress, as one of the reasons he’s not interested in entering Bay State politics.

“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,” Affleck said.

The movie star added his praise of Kerry, writing: “We are about to get a great Secretary of State.”

“There are some phenomenal candidates in Massachusetts for his Senate seat. I look forward to an amazing campaign,” Affleck added.

As for some of those candidates on the list, Gov. Deval Patrick is likely to appoint a replacement to fill Kerry’s seat in the interim period. Former Massachusetts governor and Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, as well as Vicki Kennedy, the widow of Ted Kennedy, are on Patrick’s list, according to reports.

Scott Brown, who lost to Elizabeth Warren in November, is widely believed to be the likely Republican nominee and is viewed as a strong contender. On the Democratic side there are several names often mentioned currently in the U.S. House of Representatives: Edward Markey, Michael Capuano, and Stephen Lynch. Another possibility includes Martha Coakley, the state attorney general who originally lost to Brown in the 2010 special election held after Kennedy’s death, which Brown won.

Patrick has said he won’t appoint anyone until Kerry is confirmed at state.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ben Affleck to Run for Office? Probably Not

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) -- Ben Affleck has been an increasingly popular presence in the political realm as of late. Earlier this week, he testified on Capitol Hill about security in the Democratic Republic of Congo and recently his name has come up as a possible contender in the impending Massachusetts special election to fill the seat to be vacated by John Kerry’s appointment as secretary of state.  Affleck, 40, grew up in Cambridge, Mass.

But it turns out running for political office might be a stretch too far for the actor and activist.

In an interview with GQ, Affleck had some pretty harsh words for the American political system, including “toxic,” “poisonous” and “inappropriate” (laced with expletives before them).

“I have gotten myself involved with politics, actually fairly in a pretty deep way, only to find that it really just took the wind out of my sails,” he said. “You know, it was much more interesting from the outside than from the inside.”

It’s worth noting that Affleck appears to dance around the question: “Have you ever had serious considerations” about running for office?

“I have never had a serious conversation. Not really,” he said. “I could tell you but then I can’t say what it is.”

For those hoping for a Ben Affleck vs. Scott Brown showdown this summer, don’t abandon all hope yet.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ben Affleck: U.S. Can Do ‘Huge Amount’ to Help Resolve Conflict in Congo

Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC(NEW YORK) -- Actor Ben Affleck — founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative – said Sunday morning on “This Week” that the United States can do “a huge amount” to help resolve the violent conflict in war-torn Congo that flared up as rebels seized control of the eastern city of Goma last week.

“There’s a huge amount that the U.S. can do, frankly. I mean, we have a lot of levers there.  We can engage in the kind of high-level, shuttle diplomacy that you saw be so effective in Gaza,” said Affleck, who expressed concern about the deteriorating conditions in the African nation.

“I mean, one of the things we’re hearing from our people there is that the schools that we fund, people are hiding out in.  The hospitals are completely overwhelmed.  They’re offering free care for war victims.  A shell just hit a camp and paralyzed a 5-year-old boy from the neck down.  So you’re hearing all kinds of — the kinds of brutal, terrible stuff that you hear about,” Affleck said earlier in the interview.

Affleck was joined by Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., who argued that the United States — tied up at the moment by recent events in the Middle East — can and should exert influence in the troubled region in Africa.

“Well, we have a lot of influence in the region.  I just want to emphasize that we are in a position to make a difference there.  We have built relationships with Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, a lot of it around Somalia, Al-Shabaab, Lord’s Resistance Army coming out of Uganda.  We have influence in the region with key players.  We need to get there in that type of high-level capacity,” Smith said.

“And I think it isn’t happening at the moment, because the attention is elsewhere.  It’s Gaza.  It’s Libya.  But, look, it’s all tied together in Africa,” he said. “The instability in countries in Africa, the lack of governance that’s in the Eastern Congo, leads to instability and leads to the type of problems that we’re going to have to deal with.  It’s in our interest to get in there, broker a peace deal.”

Affleck praised the Congolese people for their “resilience” and added that our foreign policy as a country, as he sees it, should represent our values.

“I mean, the amazing thing about the Congolese people is their degree of resilience and that they’ve been through this kind of stuff in the past.  And so they’re still dedicated and working hard, and we’ve seen our schools still open, hospitals, and so on,” Affleck said.  ”I think our actions in foreign policy — and maybe I am naive — you know, represent our values and represent who we are.  And if any American were to go to that country and stand and see what was happening there, they would insist that we do what we could.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ben Affleck Advocates for Increased Aid to Congo

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Advocates and government officials joined actor and director Ben Affleck Tuesday in an impassioned plea to Congress for increased government aid to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“In this time of heightened concern over federal spending some suggest that austerity demands we turn a blind eye to the crisis in Congo,” Affleck said to a full crowd at Tuesday’s hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee.  “I believe nothing could be more misguided.  It would simply be a penny wise and a pound foolish to allow the Congo to again fall into a state of crisis or further humanitarian chaos.”

The Academy Award-winner has teamed up with Cindy McCain, wife of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to highlight the intense suffering of the Congolese people.

After visiting the country multiple times, Affleck founded the non-profit Eastern Congo Initiative to help establish schools and bring medical assistance to victims of sexual abuse.  The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the poorest countries in the world and had been plagued by political turmoil since the Rwandan civil war spilled over its borders in 1996.  More than 1,100 women and girls are raped every month, 50 percent of whom do not have access to medical treatment, according to the State Department.

“Our moral compass is fixed.  Our sunrise, our East as a nation, even when we have failed, has always pointed us toward what's right,” Affleck said.  “We must be able to look ourselves in the eye and say that we did what our principles demanded.  We helped democracy emerge in a place where tragedy was the alternative.”

Affleck urged the U.S. to increase its involvement in the Congo ahead of November’s elections.

“The path to stability in today's Congo requires fostering stable elections and preventing another disaster that could easily require hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance,” he said.  “I humbly suggest that the U.S. government take a hard look at its current commitment and find a way to do more.”

The panelists called for Congress to appoint a special envoy to coordinate the efforts of non-governmental organizations and government agencies working in the country.  Ambassador Donald Yamamoto, who also testified, said the United States gives $6.8 billion in assistance to the war-torn nation.  Non-governmental organizations account for 85% of that aid.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio