Outspoken Actor Backs Challenger

Source: The Post-Standard

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Viggo Mortensen, Watertown High School grad turned silver screen heartthrob, was in Oswego Friday, helping to raise money for Democratic congressional candidate Bob Johnson.

"I'm not an American citizen who trusts politicians very much," Mortensen said. But he said he found Johnson, the Sackets Harbor surgeon making his second run for Congress, to be less a politician and more like a Jimmy Stewart character from an old movie.

"He's someone who actually cares," he said.

Mortensen's appearance at the American Foundry was one of three events he is doing to raise money for Johnson's campaign. On Thursday, about 140 people attended an event in Plattsburgh, said Jesse N. Bocinski, Johnson's campaign manager. The Oswego event drew about 100 people at $75 a piece. Tonight Bocinski expects 120 or so in Watertown.

Johnson's fundraising lags far behind that of his opponent, incumbent Rep. John McHugh, R-Pierrepont Manor. Recent Federal Election Commission filings show Johnson with $10,863.72 on hand. McHugh's cash on hand totals $391,895.80, FEC papers show.

"I know it's a long shot for him," said Mortensen. "I see people getting more enthusiastic about him."

For now, Johnson said, having the star of Hidalgo, A History of Violence and the Lord of the Rings trilogy is helping him reach potential voters. "Viggo is the medium for my message."

Mortensen, whose grandfather was a doctor, said he was drawn by Johnson's stands on issues, including health care.

Politically, Mortensen may be best known for calling for the impeachment of President Bush and the ousting of other members of the Bush administration.

Asked if he would vote to impeach Bush, Johnson said, "No. I think we need a thorough
investigation in the intelligence failure that led to the Iraq war.

"I think weapons of mass destruction was a lie," he said, adding that the United States needs to get out of Iraq soon.

Mortensen, in a dark suit with a tie featuring the symbol of his favorite soccer team and an American flag lapel pin, spoke in measured tones of his concern about the Bush administration and McHugh, whose words he called "almost interchangeable" with those of other politicians.

"I have strong feelings. That's why I'm here," he said. While some express their views on the matter angrily, Mortensen said that wasn't what worked.

"The idea is to start a conversation."
Last edited: 11 September 2006 07:38:58
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