Wendie Malick

My 5 Minutes with the President

One of the stars of “Hot in Cleveland,” Wendie Malick has made a career of playing the most glamorous, sharp, sexy and formidable women. Her impressive list of TV credits includes award-winning turns on “Dream On,” “Just Shoot Me,” “Kate & Allie” and “Frasier.” Malick’s string of awards include a Golden Globe, four Best Actress Cable ACE Awards and multiple Emmy nominations.

One of show business’s most versatile actresses, her movie work includes “Scrooged,” “Racing Stripes” and “The American President.” Her voiceover and cartoon work includes the big-screen Disney smash “The Emperor’s New Groove,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” and the television series “Fillmore!”

altHer career path is just as versatile — she started out as a model, moved on to do a stint on Capitol Hill for then-Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.), then went Hollywood.

Malick has a deep devotion to politics, women’s issues and charitable causes, including maintaining the charity A Drop in the Bucket to support a medical center in the Congo and sharing an ongoing commitment to a women’s shelter in Mexico. She serves on the board of directors of the Creative Coalition and the advisory board of the Humane Society. For the latter, Malick works to focus attention on the federal Bureau of Land Management roundup of wild horses.

ROBIN BRONK: If you had five minutes in the Oval Office with President Obama, what would you discuss with him? What issue would you like him to know about?

WENDIE MALICK: Cutting the Bureau of Land Management’s budget. They have rounded up over 40,000 wild horses and burros. These animals are now languishing in federal holding facilities at taxpayer expense, with little or no hope of adoption. This mismanagement of our public lands has been cruel, costly and unnecessary. As Thoreau said, “We need the tonic of wildness.” Our last remaining wild herds should be free to roam on our public lands, where they can be managed humanely.

RB: If you could give President Obama one piece of advice, what would that be? 

WM: We are involved in costly wars. Why have we not reinstated the draft? Shouldn’t we all be in this together or not at all?

RB: If you could ask President Obama one question, what would that be? 

WM: My question would be, How would you define patriotism, and do you believe for those to whom much has been given, much should be required?

RB: What book would you offer to lend President Obama? Why?

WM: Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West, by Deanne Stillman.

RB: If you were going to send the president to one place in the United States for one day, where would that be? Why?

WM: I would like him to stand on the National Mall with me and read his inauguration speech again. I was there that day. Like millions all over the world, I was humbled and inspired. We all need to listen to our better angels.

RB: Would you ever consider a political career?

WM: I spent the summer of ’72 in D.C. interning for Jack Kemp. It was a great experience. He was very tolerant and let me wear my “McGovern for President” button. Now I just portray politicians from time to time.

Bronk is a seasoned Capitol Hill strategist and advocate. She started her career at The Creative Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group for the arts and entertainment industry, in July 1998. During her tenure as CEO, Bronk has taken The Creative Coalition from a New York-based entity to a national organization. www.thecreativecoalition.org