Ben Affleck for Senate? He Won't Say Plus, Putin offers Depardieu a Russian passport By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Dec 20, 2012 10:49 AM CST 16 comments Comments Ben Affleck testifies before the House Armed Services Committee on the evolving security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (Newser) – John Kerry is likely to leave his Massachusetts Senate seat to become secretary of state, and the rumor mill has now churned out one Ben Affleck to add to the list of his possible replacements. Affleck was actually meeting with Kerry and other lawmakers in DC yesterday to talk about violence in the Congo, but he wasn't interested in gossiping with Politico. "That’s not what I’m here to talk about," he said. "I’m here to talk about what role we can play in making the Eastern Congo a better place." In other celebrity-political news, Russian President Vladimir Putin made an overture to Gerard Depardieu today, AFP reports. Seeing as the French movie star just gave up his French passport in a huff over high taxes, Putin offered him a Russian one. "If Gerard really wants to have a residency permit in Russia or a Russian passport, we can consider this issue resolved positively," Putin said at a press conference. But he added that Depardieu probably doesn't really want to give up his French citizenship, because the actor—whom he called a personal friend—"loves his country very much" and is just "going through tough times" right now.