Alec Baldwin may play an oblivious, dyed-in-the-wool Republican on 30 Rock, but in real life he's proven himself an avowed progressive: He's involved with People for the American Way and PETA, and he's campaigned for campaign finance reform and to free Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Now the actor who once described Dick Cheney as "a lying, thieving Oil Whore ... or, a murderer of the US Constitution" is putting out what appear to be serious feelers for a political career. And the one office he's expressed interest in is governor of New York.
In an interview with CNN's Eliot Spitzer, Baldwin said he's "very, very interested" in running for office. But "sometimes I don't want to do it because to leave what I'm doing now would be extremely painful," he said, referring to his resurgent acting career.
"I do believe that people want to believe that someone who deeply cares about the middle class -- for whatever reason -- whatever your heritage and your background and so forth -- would like to seek public office," Baldwin said. "We’ve had men who are Ivy League-groomed running this country since 1988. We’ve had 22 years of Yale and Harvard and the problems aren’t getting solved."
"You almost sound like Sarah Palin," Spitzer replied. "'We've had enough of those elites.' But you have the right answers, is the good news."
"But I think there's nothing wrong with that," Baldwin replied. "What's missing is we need people ... who have not lost sight of what the middle class needs."
Baldwin didn't say what office in particular he's interested in, but in a 2006 New York Times interview he said the only office he's be interested in is governor of New York -- the very office his host, Spitzer, held until 2008.
In that interview, Baldwin criticized fellow actor Arnold Schwarzenegger for what he saw as the Austrian-American superstar's lack of political qualifications.
"His only credentials are that he ran a fitness program under some bygone president," he said. "I’m Tocqueville compared to Arnold Schwarzenegger."
Baldwin hinted to Spitzer that whatever office he may run for, it would be in New York. "I am a New Yorker and I do like living here and i would prefer to live here," he said.
He told Spitzer he doesn't feel fame and fortune have disconnected him from the middle class. “Whatever I’ve accrued in my career doing that, it hasn’t changed me as a person,” he said.
The following video is set to air on CNN's Parker Spitzer Jan. 5, 2011.