altClint Eastwood seemed pretty surprised when ITK asked about how he felt about his name being floated as a potential running mate for George H.W. Bush during the 1988 presidential race, exclaiming with a smile, “I didn’t know they were that smart!”

The Hollywood legend was in Washington on Tuesday for the premiere of his latest directorial effort, “J. Edgar,” at the Newseum. The film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, chronicles the life of the first head of the F.B.I., J. Edgar Hoover.

Recently released tapes of interviews with officials from the Bush administration revealed that Eastwood was once briefly considered as a vice presidential candidate. Former Bush campaign chairman James Baker is heard in one audio recording saying, “When we were way behind. Honestly, [Eastwood] was suggested in not an altogether unserious — Well, he was a mayor. He was a Republican mayor.”

Eastwood, 81, served as mayor of Carmel, Calif, from 1986 to 1988. Asked why he didn’t stick with a life in politics, the “Dirty Harry” star said after his job as mayor, “I thought that was enough.”