'Bobby' actors criticize Bush


Dubai, United Arab Emirates — "Bobby" cast members took center stage Monday at the Dubai International Film Festival to condemn President Bush's policies in the Middle East while extolling the idealism of the Kennedy era.

"Last month's elections reflect the American people's desire to have a better quality of leadership — a leadership that is not just responsible to us but to our position in the world," Laurence Fishburne said at a packed news conference attended by international television crews and print journalists, with a majority hailing from the Arab world. "As a leader among nations, a lot of people look to America with hope. Unfortunately in the last seven to eight years, we have not lived up to that hope. Certainly, I am embarrassed by that."

Joshua Jackson — who in the film plays Wade Buckley, a political aide and passionate believer in Bobby Kennedy — added, "For a liberal and humane person, this seems like a dark time in America today." Responding to Fishburne's comments, he added: "No American can say they are embarrassed or it's not their fault — because you only get the democracy you deserve. We need to be more passionate, frankly more angry and more vocal in voicing our displeasure."

Jackson described himself as a Canadian immigrant who considers himself American. "Six years (after Sept. 11), the fear has reduced, and there is a gradual realization that we don't believe in torture, in inhumanity towards man, in waging war for oil and in tearing our own Constitution to protect ourselves," Jackson said. "I think America is waking from its slumber and will come back to being closer to its original ideals."

Said Fishburne: "One of the unfortunate things about the American persona is its militaristic side. But there is another side to our personality that is about free thinking, about promoting what is best in people."

In "Bobby," Fishburne plays Edward Robinson, a sous chef who imparts his wisdom about life and race relations to his Mexican staff in the Ambassador Hotel kitchen.

"Bobby" executive producer Gary Michael Walters said the objective in making the film was to revive the Kennedy legacy for a new generation.