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Susan Sarandon's mother - A Republican

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Susan Sarandon's 'Rabid' Republican Mom

By Lloyd Grove

Tuesday, March 18, 2003; Page C03



Guests at Mark and Ali Russell's annual St. Patrick's Day house party were charmed Sunday by 79-year-old Lenora Tomalin, a feisty supporter of President Bush and his take-no-prisoners stance toward Iraq's Saddam Hussein.


But they were shocked when Tomalin identified herself -- to the likes of Tim Russert and Maureen Orth, Chris and Kathleen Matthews, and Joe diGenovan and Victoria Toensing -- as the mother of Susan Sarandon.


That Susan Sarandon -- who has been leading the charge of the Hollywood left against Bush and the pending military action (claiming it will simply further American imperial designs and appropriate Iraqi oil) and who shares three of Tomalin's 19 grandchildren with actor Tim Robbins.


"I am a conservative. I voted for George W. Bush and I simply agree with most everything he has said," Tomalin told us yesterday from the Northern Virginia home of keyboardist John Carroll, her son-in-law, and daughter Meredith Carroll, one of Sarandon's eight siblings. "It's not that I'm pro-war. It's just that I think that I trust my government more than I would empathize with the government of Iraq."


Of Sarandon's anti-Bush activism, Tomalin said: "That's a given. That's the way she thinks. That's what Hollywood thinks. We don't agree, but I respect her -- more than she does me." But surely, we suggested, Tomalin's 56-year-old eldest child respects her mother's opinions. "Wanna bet?" Tomalin scoffed. Sarandon's office didn't respond yesterday to our detailed message and fax.


"When I visit Susan, I tread on eggs," Tomalin said. "The most difficult time was during the election of 2000. I live in Florida, and I was a Republican poll-watcher in Polk County. Afterward, I was sitting at the breakfast table with Jack Henry, my then-13-year-old grandson, and he looked over at me, with the sweetest little smile on his face, and said, 'I hear you voted for Bush.' I looked up at Susan, who's standing at the sink, and she says, 'All he wants to know is: How could you have voted for Bush?' And I thought, 'I'm not going to discuss my politics with a 13-year-old who has been brainwashed!' But I just let it go -- even though I have never been as rabid as I have been during the past few years."


Tomalin -- a fan of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Vice President Cheney -- added that she was bitterly disappointed last Christmas when she was visiting Washington and unable to arrange a tour of the White House decorations. "I tried everybody, and nothing could be done for me," she said. "I'll go to my grave angry about that."


But she's planning a return trip in May, and somehow we think that the somebody at the White House -- Karl Rove, are you reading this? -- will find a way to make an old lady happy.




"You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism" - Erma Bombeck

Let Freedom Ring!


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