Jon Voight Unplugged

As we waited on the tarmac to leave Ft. Lauderdale and arrive in Orlando, Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight joined reporters in the back of the Giuliani campaign press plane to chat about acting, politics, and his choice for president, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Voight said Giuliani “understands the threat we face from terrorism” like no other candidate. “He’s my guy.”

On everyone’s mind, of course, is the prospect that Giuliani will not do well in the Florida primary today, and Voight's guy might not make it to Super Duper Tuesday next week.

Voight said he has no second choice should Giuliani drop out, though it likely will be a Republican since “the two (Democratic) frontrunners don’t get it yet” in terms of the terrorist threat.

“Of the two, I think Hillary is better, though economically she’s a socialist," he said.

The estranged father of Angelina Jolie said he was still hoping for a Giuliani win tonight, though he expressed regret at how the media was covering Florida as essentially a two-man race between Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

He also said Giuliani had been picked on by Giuliani’s enemies in the press – especially the New York Times and Vanity Fair magazine, “which just published some not-so-nice things about him by his son.”

Did he think Giuliani’s strategy of bypassing primaries and caucuses in early states such as Iowa and South Carolina was faulty?

“There will be time to assess all that after today, and maybe it should be assessed,” he said.

Despite Hollywood’s liberal bent – which Voight ascribes to guilt for making so much money for little work – the star of “Midnight Cowboy” and “Deliverance” says no moguls have given him any guff for backing a Republican.

He came down to Florida last week to help out any way he could. His strong support for Israel – he says “a litmus test to figuring out where evil is in the world is to see who hates the Jews” – might have helped Giuliani in some of the more Yiddische sections of Southern Florida, he hopes.

Voight’s next project is “Pride and Glory,” about policemen in New York City, which stars Ed Norton and Colin Farrell. He begged off saying which film project was his favorite, or least favorite, though he acknowledged having tried and failed to get the lead roles in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Schindler’s List.” He turned down the lead role in “Love Story.”

Giuliani is planning to fly to California tomorrow for the GOP debate Wednesday evening at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. Voight will hitch a ride to the Golden State. “That’s home,” he says.

- jpt

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