Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's active opposition to an American-led war on Iraq has earned him an early boost in Hollywood's presidential sweepstakes, in the form of an endorsement by director and key Democratic activist Rob Reiner.
"Dean's the only major Democratic candidate speaking out against going to war without the support of the United Nations," said Reiner, who will be the California co-chairman of the Dean campaign. "My urgency to support him right now is to give him as big a forum as possible so that his views can be heard. It's a very dangerous time right now."
Unlike the other top contenders -- Sens. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, John Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri -- Dean opposed last fall's congressional resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. Earlier this week, Dean called for intensified U.N. inspections as an alternative to war. He does, however, approve of a U.S. invasion of Iraq if it is backed by the United Nations.
Reiner's endorsement, which will be announced today in an appearance with Dean at Children's Institute International, a Los Angeles early childhood center, demonstrates the growing commingling of presidential politicking and Hollywood's burgeoning antiwar movement.