George Clooney urged President Obama to step up involvement in Sudan as the war-ravaged nation nears an important election. The actor recently returned from Sudan, and is pushing the international community to take steps to prevent violence before the January 9 vote, a referendum on the independence of the southern part of the country that could fuel a civil war. Clooney said that even in these highly polarized times, most politicians can agree that it’s better to stop something terrible before it happens. Obama and Clooney were joined in their White House chat by John Prendergast, co-founder of the anti-genocide group the Enough Project. Prendergast said American involvement in Sudan could be a “game changer” that would give peacemaking a chance. A White House spokesman said the U.S. would work to make sure the vote happened on time and peacefully, but stressed that Sudan’s leaders are ultimately accountable for their own country.