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Denzel Washington talks politics, 2016 during press tour

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Denzel Washington says there’s too much cynicism in the world — particularly in politics.

When asked if it’s frustrating coming to the nation’s capital to push a cause when Congress is so fractured, Washington told ITK about chatting with Columbia University students while filming  “Malcolm X” in the 1990s.

{mosads}“So we were talking about the problems of the world, and this and that, and I remember saying to someone, ‘Well, so with everything we talking about, how do you stand a chance? Are you ready to give up?’

“And they’re like, ‘Oh no, no, we’re going to change it.’ ”

Washington recalled, “I was like, ‘Oh, I’ve become the cynic.’ They weren’t cynical. So I had to recalibrate and appreciate young people for their energy, their positive outlook.”

Whitney Stewart might epitomize the positive outlook the two-time Oscar winner says he admires. The 18-year-old Florida native joined Washington during a press tour on Wednesday after being named the Boys & Girls Clubs of America National Youth of the Year.

The University of Pennsylvania student learned she had earned the honor at a Tuesday awards celebration at the National Building Museum. Stewart also got a chance to meet with lawmakers, including Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), during a trip to the Capitol earlier that day. “It was great because I want to go into politics myself, so it was awesome to be able to meet with one of my senators,” Stewart said. “And to meet with one of my senators alongside Denzel Washington was incredible.”

Washington, 60, laughed recalling that he’d walked the halls of Congress “once or twice,” saying, “It’s like a whole world unto itself. And it’s the seat of government, so it’s always fascinating to me.”

Stewart — who said her goal is to one day be elected commander in chief — said she has a lot of questions for President Obama when she meets him later this year as part of her award for winning Youth of the Year.

“I’m excited to share the Oval Office with him, if only for a short time,” she exclaimed.

But Washington, the longtime spokesman for the Boys & Girls Clubs, had another message for the White House resident, chuckling that with Stewart angling for his job, “President Obama, you are in trouble!”

While he supported Obama during the 2008 election, Washington said it’s too early to root for any of the 2016 presidential candidates. “We just need to know more,” he said, “It’s early days.”

Tags Bill Nelson

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