Kal Penn on <I> House</i> Kal Penn on House

Shed tears for Lawrence Kutner né Choudhurry, sure, but don't feel bad for Kal Penn. Although his character has been written off of Fox's House, it was at his request — and for a very good reason. Penn soon will be setting up shop across the street from the White House, in the Old Executive Office Building.

"I was incredibly honored a couple of months ago to get the opportunity to go work in the White House," Penn told EW.com the night that Kutner was killed off of House (read TVGuide.com's full recap here). "I got to know the President and some of the staff during the campaign and had expressed interest in working there, so I'm going to be the associate director in the White House office of public liaison."

Shedding light on his career change, Penn says, "I've been thinking about [moving into politics] for a while. It's probably because of the value system my grandparents instilled in me. They marched with Gandhi in the Indian independence movement, and that was always in the back of my head. So the past couple of years I thought about it a little more ... and I thought this might be the right time to go off and do something else."

Penn stumped for Barack Obama during the presidential campaign while juggling his gigs on House and in such films as Harold & Kumar 2. But now that he's going to work full-time for the POTUS, is he retiring from acting? "Not necessarily," he hedges. "I still have a passion for it. But for the time being, I won't be acting."