Rob Lowe, both on-screen and off, is obsessed with politics. As the idealistic Sam Seaborn on "The West Wing," he guided the fictional President Bartlet through tumultuous times to universal acclaim, creating an idealized vision of what a principled Commander in Chief could do for the nation.
When he was elected in 2008, Barack Obama was seen by many as the kind of leader who could bring to the real-life Washington the sort of leadership that Bartlet showed on television. While some have been disappointed in the compromises Obama has made in his three years in office, Lowe noted during an appearance Friday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" that the President's recent decision use a recess appointment to place Richard Cordray as the head the CFPB despite Republican protest is something that would have happened in "West Wing," too.
"Well, without getting into the politics of it, I think -- I think this recess appointment is exactly the kind of thing that 'The West Wing' White House chief of staff would have advocated, for the president to be bold," Lowe said. "So whether I like it or not -- I reserve my right on that -- I like that he's out there, you know, swinging his bat. He's the president. The president should swing the bat."
It's not just this appointment; Lowe says that while the nation certainly faces many problems -- and different ideas for how to solve them -- he thinks that those in government are trying their best to sincerely address them.
"I think at this time of year, people look back to 'The West Wing,' because we would like to see that kind of idealized government, and those kind of -- those kind of leaders," Lowe told Morgan. "And, honestly, I think, behind closed doors, our real leaders are more similar to 'The West Wing' people than not, in fairness. My experience in Washington has always been the people are there for the right reasons, and they really believe in the great themes that 'The West Wing' dramatized. They just probably don't wear makeup as well as we do."
Of course, the aesthetics of those in office speaks to a larger issue. After seeing President Clinton's hair turn stark white, Lowe thinks that that sign of stress hints at just how unimaginably hard it is to be Commander in Chief.
"The same thing is happening with the gray for President Obama. It really just goes to show you that we probably cannot have any idea what it's like to wake up with that kind of pressure," he said. "And I always try to think of that when we all get critical of our president. It's easy for us to sit on the sidelines and take potshots. Man, that job is a hard, hard job, and you see it -- you literally see it by the time the second reelection comes around."
Lowe also spoke about the Republican primary, which you can watch below: