Will Smith, a Philadelphia kid who rose from hip-hop star to Hollywood superstar, says he could go much higher:

He could be president. If he wanted to.

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"No question," he told Barbara Walters last night on her annual smorgasbord of "Most Fascinating People" on ABC.

He also agreed he'd love to play Barack Obama in the eventual big-screen biopic.

Smith's "friend" Obama has said the actor should be one - because they both have big ears.

Smith's previous foray into channeling historic figures, portraying Muhammad Ali in Ali, won him an Oscar nomination in 2002.

President-elect Obama was, to no one's surprise, Walter's choice for No. 1 "Most Fascinating." The pick was kept secret until the end of the show, which was dominated by talk of politics.

Although vice-presidential wannabe Sarah Palin wasn't interviewed, Walters did chat policy and power with Palin impersonator/comedy mogul Tina Fey; moneybags gabber Rush Limbaugh; actor Frank Langella, who channels President Richard Nixon in the upcoming Frost/Nixon; and Tom Cruise, whose film Valkyrie will tell of a plot on Hitler's life.

Also on the show were Olympic swimming sensation Michael Phelps, "pregnant man" Thomas Beatie, and the pop/TV star Miley Cyrus.

Smith, however, laughed off having any presidential plans.

Ronald Reagan may have abandoned show-biz to pursue White House dreams, but not Smith.

He would "never choose" such an option, because he likes being a movie star too much, he said.

Smith said he credited his successes to his "100 percent" work ethic, which he got from the "tough" adults he grew up with - "and by tough you mean crazy."

His can-do confidence, though, was significantly shakier on another subject: marriage.

"Being married is the most difficult thing you're going to do in your life, ever," said Smith.

Apparently, even tougher than becoming president.

Smith, who first marriage ended in divorce, has two children, Jaden and Willow, with actress-wife Jada Pinkett Smith. (Jaden, who costarred with his dad in Pursuit of Happyness, has a role in the upcoming The Day the Earth Stood Still.)

Walters never brought up the comments Will Smith made early this year about sometimes perhaps asking permission his wife to stray.

He called his starring role in Seven Pounds, which hits theaters Dec. 19, "probably the darkest character I ever played," and warned Walters not to reveal too much: "Don't give my movie away, Miss Barbara."

She also mentioned the private school they started outside Los Angeles, but nothing came up about any Scientology-related teachings there.

Smith has denied he's a Scientologist and that the school has any religious affiliation.

Fey, the other area-bred celeb on the show, talked mostly about her Palin impressions, which amused millions on Saturday Night Live and YouTube.

Walters asked if Fey even thought her spoofs of the Alaska governor were "mean."

"I never did," said Fey, who grew up in Upper Darby, and became the first and only female head writer for Saturday Night Live before leaving to pursue acting, writing and producing on such projects as NBC's 30 Rock and the film Baby Mama, released earlier this year.

Fey found the criticism odd, because men are rarely criticized for their political impressions, including those that have portrayed President Bush as an "idiot."

Male comics sometimes prove to be "a neurotic mess," but why not female comics? Walters asked.

Maybe because most were conventional kids who tried hard to please parents and teachers, Fey said.

No mention was made of the faint scar on Fey's left cheek, which led to some media buzz after her husband revealed, for the January Vanity Fair, that it was the legacy of a childhood encounter with a stranger.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.