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Alec Baldwin, no longer the furious father, ponders public office

May 9, 2008 | 12:04 pm

Actor Alec Baldwin, who announced he was going to leave the United States if George W. Bush was elected president and then quietly changed his mind, is now talking about entering American politics himself.

The 49-year-old actor isn't really an archconservative televisiActor Alec Baldwin elect me New York governor or elseon executive. But he does play one on TV, on the NBC show "30 Rock."

Here's another surprise for a Hollywood person: Baldwin actually has supported liberal causes in real life.

"There's other things I want to do [besides acting]," Baldwin tells Morley Safer in an interview Sunday on CBS' "60 Minutes."

"I mean, in a matter of weeks, I'm going to be 50. There's no age limit on running for office, to a degree. Something I might do one day."

Two years ago, the Long Island native told the New York Times Magazine he thought he would like to be governor of New York. Asked if he was qualified to run for the office, he compared....

...himself to another actor-turned-politician. No, not Ronald Reagan.

"That's what I hate about Schwarzenegger," he said. "His only credentials are that he ran a fitness program under some bygone president. ... I'm Tocqueville compared to Arnold Schwarzenegger."

One challenge that would confront a Baldwin candidacy about 11 seconds after it's announced is that voicemail message that got played everywhere last year during Baldwin's nasty public divorce from actress Kim Basinger. On the widely-distributed tape message left for his 11-year-old daughter, Baldwin called her a "thoughtless little pig."

Oh, and happy birthday.

Of course, given the recent sexual weirdness out of Albany this year -- what with Gov. Eliot Spitzer and the high-priced hooker named Kristen, and new Gov. David Patterson and his wife Michelle announcing their affairs with other people, not to mention his past drug use, which we just did -- a simple angry voicemail may now seem pretty tame to voters. Maybe even boring with no sexy MySpace photos.

Thank goodness, Baldwin assures Safer on Sunday that, like almost all Hollywood celebrities who get involved in embarrassing situations, he has learned from the experience.

"If you go through the things I have gone through with the media like this thing with my daughter, there's only one thing that comes to mind initially: that is how my daughter must have felt to have this played out in public," Baldwin says.

"The second thing I realize," Baldwin adds, "is: you can pretty much bet all you own that I would never leave another voicemail message for my daughter that wasn't just like something out of a Rodgers and Hammerstein score."

-- Matthew Hay Brown

Matthew Hay Brown writes for the Swamp of the Chicago Tribune's Washington bureau.