‘I’d Rather Have Higher Taxes,’ Says Actress Hayden Panettiere

By Nicholas Ballasy | October 28, 2008 | 8:52 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - In an interview prior to a “Save the Whales Again” campaign event, television and film actress Hayden Panettiere said she would not mind paying higher taxes and that it is a celebrity’s personal choice to endorse a presidential candidate.
“I don’t know if anyone would complain about under-taxing to be completely honest,” Panettiere told CNSNews.com. “Personally, I’d rather have higher taxes and help other people who need those tax breaks more.”

Panettiere spoke to CNSNews.com at a rally, where she led led hundreds of people to form a large human pilot whale next to the message “VOTE” in front of the U.S. Capitol on Sunday, October 26.

Panettiere, 19, thinks many young people have gotten involved with this year’s presidential election because of the celebrities who chose to publicly endorse a presidential candidate.

“One of the major reasons why, especially young people, have come out and done so much to play a part in this election -- and who are really getting out there and voting this time around -- is because of the celebrity endorsements, because of how popular this election has become, and how much in the news, and how much it’s taken over, you know, our society,” said Panettiere, who plays “Claire Bennett” on the hit NBC Show, “Heroes.”
“I think it does a lot of good for that person, for Senator Obama, for people – celebrities -- to come and endorse either one of them. So, it’s a personal choice,” she said.

Panettiere also said she decided not to publicly endorse a candidate mainly because of her work with “Declare Yourself,” a non-partisan effort to encourage young people to vote.

“No, I try not to,” she said. “I think it’s pretty clear, but just because of  ‘Declare Yourself” I just stand for people going out to vote. Young people especially. Just get out there and vote. It does not matter who you vote for. I’m not going to tell you who to vote for.”

Sunday’s event for the “Save the Whales Again” campaign marked the one-year anniversary of Panettiere’s protest in Taiji, Japan, where she participated in a peaceful protest with Australian actress Isabel Lucas and other activists to raise awareness about the 25,000 dolphins killed by Japan every year. 

Panettiere has met with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to discuss environmental issues.  She was supposed to meet with Republican presidential candidate John McCain but the meeting fell through for scheduling reasons, she said.
Obama “grew up in Hawaii so he is very interested and I have a lot of contact with him and his group,” said Panettiere.  “The great thing about McCain though is he is much more environmentally friendly than I think a lot of the Republicans are, and whoever it may be at the end of the day, whether it’s McCain or Obama, hopefully we can get in touch with either of them and talk further about it.”