In a video interview with The Daily Caller, actor Ben Affleck admitted that he had already “counted” GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney “out” of winning the presidential race but was “surprised” by his “amazing debate performance.” Affleck now says Romney has “a shot” at winning.
“I think Republicans really had a chance to win,” Affleck said on Oct. 2, a day before the presidential debate, according to The Associated Press. “And they kind of ended up with like a sort of Mike Dukakis, Al Gore, Bob Dole type — who just couldn’t get people to see him as a real person somehow. Romney just had such trouble coming off as just like the kind of person you see at the grocery store. And I truly believe that has cost him the election.”
Affleck also said at the time that he has “complicated feelings” toward President Barack Obama.
TheDC asked Affleck on Wednesday what he thinks Obama could have done differently in his first term.
“That was a little bit of a garbling and a condensing of what I said,” Affleck said at the Washington screening of his new film “Argo,” in reference to his remarks to the AP. ”The person had asked me what I thought, what my sort of amateur pundit opinion was. And my amateur pundit opinion was, it’s a lot easier to run when you have no record than when you have a record and that makes it complicated because you’ve got a lot that people hang on you now because of the last four years.”
“I also said I thought Mitt Romney had a really great chance to capitalize on that, and I don’t think he did very successfully, although as everyone was talking about, the debate was pretty strong. I like the president, I’m going to vote for the president, and I think anybody who thinks deeply about things ought to have a complicated relationship with politics in general because, you know, it’s not a perfect institution.”
TheDC asked Affleck, an outspoken liberal, if his opinion has changed after the first presidential debate.
“Naturally, I mean, they [Republicans] still have some kind of a chance, it’s just I think they had a bigger chance, I should say. They had a real opening, I think, for a period. And Romney really wasn’t able to resonate with voters I don’t think. He kept sort of feeling distant, like the rich guy who laid people off, that sort of thing. Those attacks really stuck,” Affleck told TheDC.
“I think he surprised everybody, including me, by coming out with an amazing debate performance. There’s no question about it. It was a tremendous performance. I think it meant that he now has — I had counted him out, myself to be totally honest — and now I think he’s got a shot and it’s going to come down to see how he does in the next two debates and it’s going to make me want to tune a lot more than I did before.”
Affleck plays former CIA technical operations officer Tony Mendez in the new film, which focuses on the rescue of six U.S. diplomats during the Iran hostage crisis. He also directed the picture.
The Academy Award winner said he sees similarities between his film and the terror attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya, which claimed the lives of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three American staffers.
“I did research for this movie about, and I looked at footage from 32 years ago, and it was people taking over embassies and storming gates and I was shocked to find that it looked exactly like footage I’m seeing on the news now. I don’t have any answers,” Affleck said.
“I do know that it makes me kind of despaired a little bit because I think ‘haven’t we moved forward at all’? Is history just repeating itself? Have we not figured out a way to crack this, our own relationship to countries, Arab countries, Muslim countries. I don’t have the answer to that. I hope so. We’ve got really smart and talented diplomats working toward that, but I think like everybody it made me very, very sad.”