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XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX WED FEB 26, 2003 20:31:27 ET XXXXX
SOUNDSTAGE SHOWDOWN: 'LAW AND ORDER' ACTOR FILMS PRO-WAR REBUTTAL TO 'WEST WING' MARTIN SHEEN
**Must Credit DRUDGE REPORT**
It's the former senator from Tennessee vs. the former honorary mayor of Malibu.
It's NBC's LAW AND ORDER vs. NBC's WEST WING.
Starting this weekend, two peacock stars will be at media and political odds when actor Fred Thompson launches an advertising campaign which supports President Bush's position on Iraq, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
"Thank goodness we have a President with the courage to protect our country," LAW AND ORDER's Thompson says in the commercial. "What should we do with the inevitable prospect of nuclear weapons in the hands of a murderous and aggressive enemy? Can we afford to appease Saddam?"
The move comes just days after WEST WING actor Martin Sheen cut a TV spot in which he implores fans and viewers: "Don't invade Iraq. Inspections work; war won't."
NBC executives were not made aware of Thomspon's advertisement and challenge of Sheen, network sources said late Wednesday. "We obviously have not taken a stand on President Bush's policies," said one senior executive from Burbank. "Mr. Sheen and Mr. Thompson are both acting in their capacity as private citizens, I would trust."
In an interview with a local Memphis newspaper, Thompson did not hide his disdain for what he considers WEST WING's preachy liberalism. "I've been thinking about the possibility of having my character run against Martin Sheen (Bartlet) for president," Thompson declared.
The soundstage showdown comes as hundreds of thousands of US troops are on the move ahead of an expected invasion of Iraq.
Filed By Matt Drudge
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