- House passes VA reform compromise
- Obama admin to blame for HealthCare.gov woes, $840M cost: GAO
- Al Gore’s climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- Army’s 3-D printed bombs will create ‘a whole new universe’ of deadly capabilities
- Hamas calls on Hezbollah to join in fight against Israel
- Senators to FIFA, others: Don’t reward Putin with the World Cup in 2018
- U.S. condemns Israeli shelling of shelter in Gaza
- Obamacare shoots premiums up by 88 percent in California
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- Obama to Republicans: ‘Stop just hatin’ all the time’
Democrats’ glitterati not as sparkly as 2008
Winfrey, Affleck, Lee staying away from Charlotte
Question of the Day
Republicans are usually scrambling to add a little star power to their conventions, but in Tampa, Fla., last week, Clint Eastwood stole the spotlight and set off his very own Twitter war, galvanizing both the right and the left like few other convention speeches in recent memory.
Now, it’s the Democrats’ turn to show off their celebrity supporters, and the expected Hollywood guest list — at least so far — is less sparkly than in previous years.
There’s no doubt that there will be a strong Hollywood contingent trekking to Charlotte, N.C., this week. Eva Longoria, a co-chairwoman of President Obama’s campaign is confirmed, as are Ashley Judd and Jon Hamm, and Marc Anthony, who will sing the national anthem one of the nights.
But a few of the Democratic convention regulars — Ben Affleck, Susan Sarandon and Spike Lee — have decided to sit this convention out, the Associated Press confirmed last week.
Even Oprah Winfrey, one of Mr. Obama’s biggest boosters in 2008, who said she “cried my eyelashes off” during the president’s convention acceptance speech in Denver, isn’t expected to make an appearance in Charlotte.
The reasons for the lower star wattage are myriad. Mr. Obama is an incumbent now, and a re-election is just not as gripping as the historic run of the first black presidential candidate who had a real shot at winning.
Some like George Clooney, Sarah Jessica Parker and Anne Hathaway have already shown their support by hosting or headlining fundraisers for Obama this year and prefer to stay home during the convention.
Others, like Matt Damon, have said they are experiencing a case of buyer’s remorse with the president.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people who worked for Obama at the grass-roots level,” Mr. Damon told Elle magazine late last year. “One of them said to me, ‘Never again. I will never be fooled again by a politician.’ You know, a one-term president with some balls who would have actually got stuff done would have been, in the long run of the country, much better.”
Also, this year the convention is taking place in an atmosphere of uncertainty about the shaky economic recovery and whether millions of unemployed Americans workers will be able to find jobs in the months ahead.
Well aware of the dynamic, Democrats are trying to inject a different kind of tone this year — making a point to spend less money than they did four years ago and limiting corporate and special-interest donations to the host committee itself.
Holding an over-the-top convention full of Hollywood luminaries and lavish parties could make Democrats vulnerable to attacks that Mr. Obama and elite Washington politicos are out of touch with out-of-work moms and dads around the country struggling to pay their bills.
Republicans received their fair share of criticism last week for the same type of awkward visuals of lobbyists sponsoring boozy late-night parties for political A-listers (one firm even bought out the space in a restaurant for a whole week) while millions are still out of work.
But parties, as well as celebrities, have become a staple at conventions. Delegates pay thousands of dollars to travel across the country to watch their party put on a show, and no one expects them to become dour affairs.
“We have the same number of celebrities, if not more, coming this year,” said Robin Bronk, who heads the Creative Coalition, an arts-advocacy group. “Ours come because they feel the need to participate in the democratic process … because the country is in a bit of a crisis, there’s even more reason to devote time to coming.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at email@example.com.
- GOP senators want IG probe of Sebelius' 'Obamacare' fundraising
- Teaming up with Christie, Obama says Jersey shore 'back in business'
- No Moore: Obama flubs name of Oklahoma city devastated by tornado, calls it 'Monroe'
- Obama to Okla. tornado victims: 'We have got your back'
- Aide involved in Benghazi talking points scrubbing promoted by Obama
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
- Geraldo Rivera: Matt Drudge 'doing his best to stir up a civil war'
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- Al Gore's climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- HURT: Impeaching Obama is a losing strategy for the GOP
- MSNBC's Ronan Farrow questions lack of racial diversity in emoji characters
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Obama vows veto of House border bill
- ISTOOK: Get ready for super-priced burgers due to NLRB decree
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world