When Martin Sheen last spoke to Huffington Post in September, U.S. President Barack Obama's re-election looked like a cakewalk. Three debates later, the race couldn't be tighter -- but the legendary actor and activist says the situation is not as apocalyptic as it may seem for Democrats.
"He's still doing well, but it's gotten a little more precarious. What the polls are showing is absolutely true -- Gallup is neck and neck. That's indisputable. But what is not always clear is that he is far ahead in the Electoral College, the battleground states. He is leading now. God forbid, but it could happen that he could lose the popular vote and still win a second term," Sheen said Wednesday backstage at Free The Children's We Day youth rally in Calgary where he was a guest speaker.
An Obama re-election without winning the popular vote would no doubt spark an outcry from the right, much as the reverse was true when George W. Bush was elected in 2000 despite Al Gore capturing more votes nationwide.
But Sheen said, essentially, that's just tough. "Those are the rules, and when you enter the game you agree to play by those rules. Sorry, this is what it feels like."
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As for how the race got so close, Sheen basically gave Obama a pass on the first debate ("his energy was at a very low ebb") while being encouraged by the last two, especially Obama's "get the transcript" reply to criticism of his response to the Benghazi attacks.
"Mr. Romney really showed his ass there, and how stupid he is and arrogant. There's an old phrase, arrogance is ignorance matured, and that's what we saw."
As for the third debate, Sheen thought Obama "gave Romney too much time and didn't shut him up when he could have easily done so" but came off "far and away the most qualified."
Despite his confidence that Obama will win, Sheen was quick to offer warnings over how a Romney presidency might affect America, citing the Republican candidate's primary selling point as his primary reason for concern.
"He is, in essence, a very arrogant, very successful businessman [who] believes in unreined free enterprise," Sheen said. "He doesn't have a clue what 99 per cent of the people are going through. He's never lived on that level. He's never had to compete for a job or face eviction or struggle to get a college loan. He's a guy that the old phrase applies to: 'he was born on third base and thought he hit a triple,'" Sheen said.
"He would be a reflection of the one per cent. They say this kind of rhetoric that I'm doing right now is advocating class warfare, but that's nonsense. There is no class warfare; the war ended a long time ago and the poor lost very badly. While the upper one per cent of our population has continued to rise, the 99 per cent has continued to drop. The unions are at risk, and it's no secret it's not getting any better for the 99. If Romney is elected, that's going to be the level that we start at."
So why does Sheen think Romney has the support of so much of the electorate? He blames the billions being poured into the election, through both campaigns and SuperPACs, specifically calling out conservatives as "very unscrupulous about how they twist and turn things to their own advantage."
But Sheen added that this is an issue that goes much further back than this particular election or even the Citizen's United ruling that allowed unfettered spending by groups outside the candidates' campaigns.
"Every major corporation is represented in Washington with a huge battery of lawyers and lobbyists, but there's nobody lobbying for the poor," Sheen said, adding, "We've always had the best politicians money can buy. So if Romney is elected, he's the best politician we could afford."
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