Val Kilmer, Servant of the People?
Maybe Val Kilmer really is running for governor of New Mexico next year. The movie star was walking the walk of a bona fide candidate on Capitol Hill this week.
Last week, the actor, 49, confirmed to the Associated Press that he's thinking about it. ("If that ends up being where I can make a substantial contribution, then I'll run.") Then he flew to D.C. for some old-fashioned networking and friend-raising -- starting Tuesday at the Museum of the American Indian for National Congress of American Indians President Joe Garcia's annual State of the Indian Nations address.
NCAI rep Adam McMullin said Kilmer told Garcia he would cancel Hollywood plans in order to be here for the speech. Seem serious about running? "That's the impression we got," McMullin told us. "He really wanted to talk to tribal leaders and listen to our issues. Native Americans are a large part of the population in New Mexico. I'm sure he sees the importance of their voice in anything he may decide to do politically."
Then it was on to the Dirksen Senate Office Building, where Kilmer (boots, khakis, light jacket, longish hair) lingered outside Sen. Tom Udall's office chatting up staffers and visitors. The New Mexico Democrat could meet only briefly, so Kilmer returned yesterday to join him for lunch. Political talk? Not really, said Udall spokeswoman Marissa Padilla: "They've been friends for a long time." Later, Kilmer dropped in on Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) for a chat about renewable energy, said spokesman Mark Nicastre.
Kilmer's reps didn't get back to us, but in another sign that this might really be happening, he's already getting dissed by home-state detractors such as the former mayor of Gallup, who last month called him a "a privileged, pampered celebrity." Sound familiar? In 1966, California Gov. Pat Brown dismissed Ronald Reagan as the star of "such unforgettable epics as 'Bedtime for Bonzo.' " And in 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger was slammed by California Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante: "He doesn't live in our world. He lives on Planet Hollywood."
And you know how that turned out.
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