Election 2012: Celebrity endorsements
The 2012 presidential election is heating up, as candidates campaign all over the country in efforts to reach voters. Democratic candidate Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney have presented their stances on issues from healthcare to same-sex marriage to education costs. Both men have articulated their plans for policy reform and leadership strategies, if elected. Yet, little of this matters compared to what celebrities think.
Actors, musicians, and athletes have weighed in on their presidential choices for November’s election. Obama boasts a healthy array of celebs in his corner, from fashion designers to Academy-Award-winning producers. The current President has four years already locked in, which gives him an advantage over lesser-known Romney. Still, Romney’s line-up of famous supporters is nothing to be sneezed at!
Jon Voight, actor and father of Angelina Jolie, is backing Mitt Romney. Voight has called Romney “strong” and “honest” and will vote for him because he “has good values.” Another Brangelina parent, Jane Pitt, recently publicized her support for Romney in a letter that also disparaged some of Obama’s values and beliefs, such as his support for same-sex marriage. Other famous Romney supporters include Scott Baio, Jerry Bruckheimer, Vince McMahon, Jeff Foxworthy, Ted Nugent, Trace Atkins, Kid Rock, Donald Trump, Gene Simmons, Cindy Crawford, and Kristi Yamaguchi. Although Romney’s support group is not as celeb-pretty as Obama’s, Romney has one very, very important famous supporter (a secret weapon some might say): Mr. Chuck Norris.
President Obama has some of biggest actors in the biz backing him. George Clooney, in particular, has munificently contributed to the Obama cause. He held a gala this past May where he charged A-list guests $40,000 each to dine with the President. The dinner raised $15 million in guest fees and nation-wide donations. Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, Michael Keaton, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Garner, Gwyneth Paltrow, Alec Baldwin, and Jane Lynch are also among the more than 550,000 donors who have contributed to Obama’s reelection campaign. One of his most famous supporters is Oprah Winfrey, who stated last August, “I supported Barack Obama in 2008 because I believed then as I do now that he is the right man for the job.”
If you break down Obama’s celebrities into categories of franchises and groups, he has several of the Ocean’s Eleven castmates on his side: Clooney, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, and Julia Roberts are all in the Barack-corner. Similarly, Desperate Housewives’ Eva Longoria, Brenda Strong, and Vanessa Williams plan to “Bar-rock” the vote this November. Film gangsters Robert De Niro, Danny DeVito, and Al Pacino are gunning for Obama, as are A-list screenwriters and producers Aaron Sorkin, Harvey Weinstein, Tyler Perry, and Spike Lee. Power couples Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Jay-Z and Beyonce, and Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon have boarded the Barrack train, as well as Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Sean Penn. His supporters span generations, from Ashton Kutcher and Hillary Duff to the fabulous Betty White. Athletes support Obama too; he has LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Muhammad Ali, and Floyd Mayweather hoping he takes victory home to the White House this November. In the category of actors who have played the role of President of the United States on film or television, Morgan Freeman, James Brolin, and Will Ferrell support Obama.
But how important is celebrity support anyway? On the advantageous side, it often translates to monetary backing, as famous people are usually rich and will donate high values of money to causes that they believe in. Also, the opinions of celebrities can potentially influence the ideals and values of voters. Analysts believe that Oprah, for example, has the potential to boost Obama’s appeal with white, working-class women.
Many famous people have utilized Twitter as a way to connect with the greater population and publicly voice support for candidates. For example, singer Adam Levine published this fiery tweet: “Dear America, if you don't re-elect @BarackObama, I'm gonna lose my [expletive].” This is pretty convincing, but still, only 13 percent of American adults even use Twitter. And it’s got to be said that individuals have their own thoughts and values, ones that probably won’t be swayed according to what George Clooney and Donald Trump think. Could too much celebrity support even work against a candidate? For instance, some see Obama’s frequent socialization with Hollywood A-listers to clash with his appeal as a credible, focused leader of our nation.
Obama may have many celebrity supporters, but when it comes down to it, will that make an impact in his chances of being reelected? It will all come down to two important questions. One, who has a bigger fan following: Betty White or Chuck Norris? And two: who is Kim Kardashian voting for? She tweeted appreciation for Obama’s support of gay marriage, but she hasn’t explicitly declared her support for either candidate. If her tweets are any indication that she is pulling for Obama, well, that could spell game over for Mitt Romney.
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