Singer Stevie Wonder performs before President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at the Fifth Third Arena on the University of Cincinnati campus, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
CINCINNATI (AP) — President Barack Obama is counting on former President Bill Clinton and Bruce Springsteen, top surrogates for his campaign, to carry his message. But he also has enlisted an army of A-list performers and public figures — from Lady Gaga to Billie Jean King, from Jay-Z to Crosby, [auth] Stills and Nash — to promote his re-election.
The Obama campaign provided a who’s-who of 181 actors, musicians, authors, athletes, mayors, Congress members, and more that fit any and all demographic groups in the president’s target zone. All are being deployed to carry his message to television and radio in the waning days of a nip-and-tuck campaign.
On Saturday, Stevie Wonder played an unannounced concert for voters waiting in line to vote early in Cleveland. Wonder opened a rally for Obama by rocking the arena at the University of Cincinnati with a rendition of “Keep on Running.”
Songwriter John Legend, actor Laurence Fishburne, and congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis, D-Ga., were among those who went to Ohio to lead a “Souls to the Polls” effort with local churches.
The list includes some of Hollywood’s big names — Samuel L. Jackson, Anne Hathaway, and Scarlett Johansson — who were talking to Top 40 radio stations. Jackson and comedian Chris Rock were on stations with primarily African American audiences urging voters to go to the polls Tuesday.
Danny DeVito and members of the FX sitcom “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” have canvassed neighborhoods in Wisconsin, made phone calls and visited colleges in the state.
Others on the Obama list include Black Eyed Peas’ front man Will.i.am and rock band leaders such as Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Jeff Tweedy of Wilco.
Celebrity sells. Now it remains to be seen if voters buy.