Is George Clooney positioning himself for a run at public office?

Matt Damon, George Clooney and Brad Pitt in Ocean’s Thirteen.
Warner Bros.

For years, George Clooney has taken a shine to Las Vegas. Five years ago, nightclub developer Rande Gerber and he announced plans for a retro Vegas resort, Las Ramblas, to open along Harmon Avenue just west of the Hard Rock Hotel. The $3 billion property was to be opened in 2008 but fell victim to the commercial construction slump that stopped several such ambitious projects.

Around that time, Ocean’s Thirteen, co-starring Clooney with a star-laden ensemble cast, premiered at Brenden Theaters at the Palms during CineVegas in 2007. And Clooney’s onetime girlfriend, Sarah Larson, was a cocktail waitress at Moon at that hotel.

I’m told, reliably, that Clooney was in serious talks with a business interest with ties to Las Vegas but abruptly pulled out of those discussions.

The reason? Clooney is positioning himself for a possible run at public office and prefers not to be linked to a business in the nightlife haven that is Las Vegas. Can’t readily say at what level Clooney would seek to serve, but he owns a residence in Los Angeles and is a progressive who supported President Obama in the 2008 election.

Clooney also has performed extensive humanitarian work in the war-ravaged Darfur region of Sudan. He has never been reluctant to share his views on politics or policy, but as recently as February was dismissive in discussing his political options despite overtures from the California Democratic Party.

If Clooney were to embark on a campaign for any public office, his decision would mark a change in his way of thinking about such a move. In a story that ran in February in Newsweek, Clooney acknowledged his history as one of Hollywood’s leading lotharios would be difficult to overcome.

“I didn’t live my life in the right way for politics, you know,” he told the magazine. “I (romanticized) too many chicks and did too many drugs, and that’s the truth.” He added that a smart campaigner “would start from the beginning by saying, ‘I did it all. I drank the bong water. Now let’s talk about issues.’ That’s gonna be my campaign slogan: ‘I drank the bong water’?”

Which render questions about inhaling, or not, moot.

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