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President Obama on Friendship with George Clooney

by Lisa Hirsch 2:00 PM PDT, August 19, 2012
Playing President Obama on Friendship with George Clooney

President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama are no stranger to celebrity support and they're opening up to ET about perhaps their most famous Hollywood cheerleader  -- George Clooney.

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The president calls Clooney a "wonderful guy" while the first lady reveals that she, like many of her fellow Americans, finds Clooney "cute."

Michelle says that, oddly enough, she never seems to be around when George and her husband get together. "It's a conspiracy … All the meetings, I just happen to be busy," Michelle jokes. The president concurs, "Michelle is always frustrated because a lot of the events that George has been involved in, for some reason, she has something else going on."

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The president says that his staff mysteriously always congregates when "Gorgeous George" visits the White House: "I will say that the couple of times he's come to the White House, I notice that the staff suddenly is circling around my office. They've got memos they need to make sure I see right away."

In all seriousness, however, the president tells ET, "The truth is we got to know each other because of a substantive issue. He is a terrific advocate on behalf of the people of Darfur, and to the people of Sudan who've been brutalized for a long time. And so when I was a senator -- this was well before I was president -- that was an issue that I was working together on a bipartisan basis, and George, who had traveled there, done documentaries there, and was very well-informed, came to testify in Congress. And so we got to know each other, and he is a good man, and a good friend."

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But the president says that Clooney, who hosted a fundraiser for the Obama re-election campaign in May that reportedly raised almost $15 million, doesn't take their working relationship too far: "He's very protective about not bothering me. And he's also sensitive to the fact that, you know, that if he's around a lot, then somehow it'll be tagged as 'Obama hanging out with Hollywood stars,' and that's not who he is. But he's a good person." For more with the president and first lady, tune in to Monday night's ET.

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