Penn was involved with President Obama's 2008 campaign and worked at the White House as Obama’s associate director of public engagement for two stints in-between acting gigs, and is one of the 2012 campaign's national co-chairmen.

Several Hollywood stars were named as co-chairman earlier this year, and serve as “ambassadors" raising the media profile of the campaign.

“As much as a love the movie career ... seeing what the stakes are and seeing what the alternative is just makes you want to do everything you can between now and November to get the president reelected," Penn said at the event held at Cafe Asia in Rosslyn. "I feel lucky that I can go back to my creative job, but right now when we do events like this, it’s a little more serious in tone.”