- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 2, 2008

Voters in Wisconsin got to see Barack Obama while his wife, Michelle, courted Colorado and Missouri residents and former President Bill Clinton appealed to Floridians.

And that was just yesterday.

A deep bench of Democratic firepower - paired with star power from the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z, who will hit the trail for Mr. Obama this weekend - is allowing Mr. Obama to take his campaign to several states every day.

Sen. John McCain, by contrast, has fewer stars and is playing on a smaller map. The Republican nominee rarely splits from his wife, Cindy, and shares a stage more often than not with his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

The joint campaigning allows the Republican ticket to electrify far larger crowds than Mr. McCain was able to attract earlier in the year, but it also means the campaign can cover less territory.

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On any given day, 10 to 15 Obama surrogates are fanned out across several battleground states, spreading the Obama message from Miami to Las Vegas.

Mr. Obama has Stevie Wonder and even the reunited Grateful Dead on his side. Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher starred in a Web video reminding Americans to register to vote. They join Queen Latifah, Kal Penn and Sean Astin, all of whom have recorded Web ads on Mr. Obama’s behalf.

Mr. Springsteen and Billy Joel will hold their first-ever joint concert Oct. 16 in New York to benefit Mr. Obama. Mr. Springsteen also will headline free concerts in Columbus, Ohio, and Philadelphia this weekend, a final push before Monday’s voter-registration deadlines. Rapper Jay-Z is doing the same in Miami and Detroit.

Republicans have their own voter-registration push this weekend, and Republican National Committee spokesman Alex Conant scoffed at the rock stars aiding the Democrats.

“I guess they’re impressed by Obama’s Grammy. But regular voters will be more impressed by McCain’s judgment and experience,” he said. Mr. Obama won a Grammy Award for the audio recording of his book.

On the Republican side, some of the bigger political stars have yet to headline large rallies for Mr. McCain, a longtime senator from Arizona.

An aide to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who at this point is the biggest “star” in the party, said the Republican will hit the trail this fall and “do what he can to help the senator.”

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