Morgan Freeman donates US$1-M to Obama

Agence France-Presse
The multi-awarded actor joins Obama's pool of A-list celebrity supporters

THE ACTOR WHO HAS played the role of President supports the US President. Photo from the Morgan Freeman Facebook page, taken by Andy Gotts

LOS ANGELES, United States of America – Morgan Freeman has become the latest Hollywood celebrity to donate to help re-elect Barack Obama, giving US$1-M to a campaign group backing the US president, his spokesman said Thursday.

The Oscar-winning actor gave the money to Priorities USA Action, a so-called super-PAC independent of the official campaign, and praised Obama for his achievements in office since winning the White House race 4 years ago.

“President Obama has done a remarkable job in historically difficult circumstances,” Freeman said, according to his spokesman Stan Rosenfeld.

“He ended combat operations in Iraq, put in place sensible reforms of Wall Street, saved the auto industry and protected the health care of every American,” he continued.

“He has led our nation to be more tolerant and placed impressive, accomplished women on the Supreme Court,” added Freeman, who won an Oscar for best supporting actor in 2005 for his role in “Million Dollar Baby.”

Bill Burton, the head of Priorities USA Action and former Obama White House deputy press secretary, thanked Freeman for his “generosity” in a tweet linking to stories about the donation.

Other donors to Priorities US Action have included Dreamworks Animation boss Jeffrey Katzenberg, who gave US$2-M last year, and director Steven Spielberg who donated US$100,000, according to the opensecrets.org website.

US comedian Bill Maher announced in February that he had donated US$1-M to the Obama-backing super-PAC.

Freeman sparked lively debate, and drew criticism, when he said in a recent radio interview that Obama is not the United States’ first black president.

“America’s first black president hasn’t arisen yet. He’s not America’s first black president. He’s America’s first mixed-race president,” he told National Public Radio. Obama father was Kenyan, and his mother white American.

Morgan is famous for movies including 1989’s “Driving Miss Daisy,” 2009’s “Invictus” — in which he played Nelson Mandela — and the recent “Dark Knight” movies.

The African American actor also played a fictional US president in 1998 disaster movie “Deep Impact,” about a leader scrambling to prevent a comet from slamming into the Earth. – Agence France-Presse