NEW YORK — Pleading for voters to give President Obama another chance in office, rock star Bruce Springsteen hit the campaign trail in Ohio and Iowa on Thursday, hoping his star power could persuade undecided voters to give the Democratic incumbent a second chance.
A day earlier and three states away, comic Dennis Miller campaigned with Republican Mitt Romney, telling the crowd that many 2008 Obama supporters are recovering from what he said sounded like a case of voting under the influence of a powerful sleeping drug.
“Don’t you have friends who talk about their vote for Obama in much the same tone they use when they told you they took an Ambien and woke up naked outside?” he said moments before he introduced Mr. Romney to 8,000 gathered in a park in Leesburg, Va.
“I think — what? You voted for him? No, Really? ‘I remember I took it, I woke up at the freezer, nude, eating ice cream, and I must’ve went out and voted for him after that.’”
Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama are turning to celebrities to try to entice more voters to join them in the days leading up to the Nov. 6 election.
For Mr. Romney, it often seems like the travel edition of the Grand Ole Opry. In three stops in Virginia this month, he followed country music star Trace Adkins to the stage in the Shenandoah Valley, had country music artist Andy Griggs as his opening act in Leesburg, and in Chesapeake deployed Lee Greenwood, whose hit “God Bless the USA” is a sort of unofficial GOP anthem.
Mr. Obama and other Democrats counter with a much wider array of celebs: Attractive young female actresses, strident black rappers, titans of the Hollywood studios and rock stars such as Jon Bon Jovi and the 63-year-old Mr. Springsteen.
So who’s the best?
“The answer is, it’s situational,” said Steven J. Ross, a professor at the University of Southern California who wrote “Hollywood Right and Left: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics.”
“If you’re going for a youth audience, it’s going to be a musician,” he said. “If you’re going into a swing state, Ohio for example, bring in a big sports star. Colorado, for example, bringing in Peyton Manning would be huge.”
Mr. Romney didn’t get Manning, the Denver Broncos‘ quarterback, but he did get a Hall of Fame predecessor, John Elway, and he has campaigned in Ohio with golf legend and Buckeye State native Jack Nicklaus.
Celebrities, at root, don’t often convince voters to back their preferred candidates. Instead, they serve as a way to connect fans to politicians.
That’s one reason why musicians do so well. They can do what they usually do — perform — and gather an audience, which the politicians can address.
Comics are a bit tougher because their performances can be trickier to calibrate.
On Wednesday, Mr. Miller repeatedly called Mr. Romney an honorable man — at one point saying, “There’s an innate decency about this cat” — but saved his most memorable lines for attacks on Vice President Joseph R. Biden.View Entire Story
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