"Fahrenheit 9/11" director Michael Moore on Monday rejected the idea that Hollywood had hurt John Kerry's chances of winning the White House, insisting that he and other entertainers helped spare Democrats an even bigger defeat.
"For the last month, we've had to listen to a lot of conservative pundits talk about how Democrats need to run away from Hollywood," Moore said. "It's actually the opposite. Democrats need to embrace Hollywood because this is where they need to come to learn how to tell a story."
In the final analysis, Moore said, Democratic presidential nominee Kerry was "not the best candidate." President Bush "had a more compelling story to tell and the Democrats didn't, and that has to change."
Moore, making a string of public appearances in the weeks leading up to the Oscar nominations, for which "Fahrenheit 9/11" is seen as a potential contender, spoke to reporters before addressing the Los Angeles World Affairs Council on the impact of filmmaking on politics.
Before the election, many Democrats and liberal activists in groups like MoveOn.org hailed "Fahrenheit 9/11" for its scathing critique of Bush and the U.S.-led war in Iraq and saw the film as a tool for rallying opposition.
After Bush's re-election last month, some analysts suggested that Moore and other outspoken celebrities on the left had had become polarizing figures who alienated Middle America as much as they galvanized the Democratic faithful.
But Moore said he and liberal activists, including show business figures, had helped turn out millions of new voters who backed the Democrats on Election Day.
"What 'Fahrenheit 9/11' and Bruce Springsteen and MoveOn and all the other people that were working during this election, what we did was we prevented a Bush landslide," Moore said. "We're all going to continue to do this in the near future. No one's giving up."
Citing California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former President Ronald Reagan, Moore said, "America loves Hollywood. America loves the people in the movies and on TV. And the thing that the Republicans have already figured out is that America likes to vote for Hollywood...
"And I think we need to turn to Hollywood, because who wouldn't vote for Tom Hanks or Paul Newman or Robert Redford or Oprah?"
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