Your new movie, The Ides of March, is pretty dark. Is your view of politicians that they're all compromised?
My father ran for Congress in 2004, and I got a sense that there is no way to achieve much success without a certain amount of compromise.
Your character, a presidential candidate, makes a mistake. Do people allow candidates failings if they don't influence who they are as politicians?
I really do think it almost always comes down to not just the stupid act itself but the covering up of that stupid act. I truly believe if Nixon had taken the tapes and burned them on his front lawn and said, "Screw you. These belong to me," Watergate would have been very different.
Are you disappointed in Obama?
I get angry at people who don't stand for him, actually. If this were a Republican president, Republicans would say, "We were losing 400,000 jobs a month. We stopped it. We saved the car industry." You could go down the list. Democrats should talk to Hollywood about how to posture some of these things. Say you're about to get into tax loopholes. Instead of "loopholes," say "cheating." And then on the floor of the Senate, get up and say, "We're not going to raise your taxes, but we're not for cheating. Are you?" I just think Democrats are bad at that.
Ronald Reagan said, "How can the President not be an actor?" How good an actor is Obama?
If you consider a good actor to be the guy that you want when you got one take left and the sun is setting, then he's a very good actor, because when his back's against the wall, he's always terrific. He should sometimes bone up on some of the day-to-day skills of communication.
What are you doing with the Satellite Sentinel Project?
We have a camera 400 miles [640 km] above Sudan, taking pictures. I want [Sudan's President] Omar al-Bashir to enjoy the exact same amount of celebrity that I do. And we've found mass graves when they were trying to quickly bury them. We have photographs of tanks and helicopters and planes where there was supposed to be just tribal fighting. We're able to give these to the U.N.
Do you follow Twitter?
No, because I drink in the evening and I don't want anything that I write at midnight to end my career "You can kiss my ass," all spelled wrong.
Since you've lived there, has tourism to Lake Como increased?
Tourism to my home has increased. Every year, bigger boats come by. And every year what they say I paid for my house goes up. Now it's like $25 million. Which I did not pay.
What do you think of Occupy Wall Street?
Anytime there's an actual grassroots movement that isn't funded by people trying to create a grassroots movement, I find that interesting.
What about the Buffett rule, that people of a certain income should pay more taxes?
Asking people who have been lucky enough to make a great deal of money to participate more is a patriotic thing to do. I don't know how you argue against it.
Would you run for office?
No! I'd run from! My job's much, much more fun.