Joe Mantegna

My 5 Minutes with the President

Emmy- and Tony Award-winner Joe Mantegna stars as David Rossi in the CBS drama “Criminal Minds.”

Early in his career, the versatile Mantegna conceived and co-wrote the Off-Broadway play “Bleacher Bums,” which earned him an Emmy when it was adapted to television by PBS. The TV version was then reproduced for Showtime. He also voices Fat Tony on “The Simpsons.” 

In film, Mantegna starred in Woody Allen’s “Alice” and “Celebrity,” Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather: Part III,” Barry Levinson’s “Liberty Heights” and “Bugsy,” Steven Zaillian’s “Searching for Bobby Fischer” and Billy Crystal’s “Forget Paris.” 

Other films starring Mantegna include “Up Close and Personal,” “Baby’s Day Out,” “Airheads,” “Queens Logic,” “Eye for an Eye,” “The Runner,” Stephen King’s “Thinner,” and the Rodrigo Garcia film “Nine Lives.”

His television work also includes starring as police chief Will Girardi in the acclaimed CBS series “Joan of Arcadia” and co-producing two Outdoor Channel shows, “Shooting Gallery” and “Midway USA’s Gun Stories,” and executive-producing the Web series “QuickBites.” On April 29, 2011, Joe received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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?

JOE MANTEGNA: Mandatory service for our country, be it active military or Peace Corps-type involvement.

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

JM: How has the presidency changed you?

RB: What piece of advice would you give President Obama as he’s on the campaign trail?

JM: Keep it simple.

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

JM: The Bethesda Naval Hospital. As a reminder of who the finest Americans are.

RB: What CD/piece of music would you recommend that President Obama add to his collection? Why?

JM: The five service songs of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard.

 RB: Would you ever consider a political career?

 JM: No, but I have tremendous respect for those who have chosen public service as a profession. I only hope they would all use our original Founding Fathers as their role models more often.

Robin Bronk is CEO of The Creative Coalition — the leading national, nonprofit, nonpartisan public advocacy organization of the entertainment industry. Bronk is a frequent speaker on the role of the entertainment industry in public advocacy campaigns and represents The Creative Coalition and its legislative agenda before members of Congress and the White House. She produced the feature film “Poliwood,” airing on Showtime, and edited the recently published book Art & Soul. Bronk pens this weekly column with assistance from Risa Kotek.