Martin Sheen, also known as TV’s President Bartlet, campaigns with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown in Akron

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Martin Sheen, also known as TV’s President Bartlet, campaigns with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown in Akron

Cleveland.com – Josiah Bartlet, the fictional president played for seven years on television by Martin Sheen, left the White House six years ago when “The West Wing” went off the air.

But in the real world, fellow Democrats continue to ride his coattails.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown brought Sheen to Ohio this week for a series of events designed to inject enthusiasm and cash into his re-election campaign. On Thursday, they toured a Columbus-area food bank, rallied Brown supporters in Summit County and attended two fund-raisers — one at the home of former Sen. John Glenn, the other in Shaker Heights.

About 200 people crowded inside an Akron union hall to catch a glimpse of Sheen. Every bit as erudite as Bartlet, the idealistic liberal he portrayed, the Dayton native encouraged his audience to fight hard for Brown and the issues that matter most to them.

“In the entire history of the human race, every truth began as a blasphemy, and no one has ever made a contribution of any real worth without self-sacrifice, personal suffering and sometimes even death,” Sheen said in brief prepared remarks.

“The Irish,” he added, “tell a story of a man who arrives at the gates of Heaven and asks to be let in. St. Peter says, ‘Of course, just show us your scars.’ The man says, ‘I have no scars.’ St. Peter says, ‘What a pity. Was there nothing worth fighting for?’”


Sheen and Brown began their Ohio campaign swing Wednesday with events in Cincinnati and Dayton, including two fund-raisers. Bradley Whitford, who played Bartlet’s deputy chief of staff on “The West Wing,” was scheduled to be at Thursday evening’s private fund-raiser in Shaker Heights.

In Akron, Brown presented Sheen as a man who shares core Democratic values and supports organized labor. He tied last year’s repeal of Senate Bill 5, a package of Republican-backed restrictions on collective bargaining for public-employee unions, to Sheen’s attempt years ago to unionize the golf course he worked at as a teenager.

“The measure of his character is what he believes and who he stands for,” Brown said.

In an interview before the Akron event, Sheen called Brown his hero.

“There are few people with the courage Sherrod Brown has displayed,” Sheen said.

Asked about Mandel, Sheen said he would withhold judgment.

“I can say,” Sheen added, “that he can learn an awful lot from the senator.”

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