By Judy Kurtz
While Obama’s got the pop and hip-hop genres on lock, Romney has managed to wrangle a wide group of country crooners and rockers.
Singers such as Beyonce and husband Jay-Z, Pink, Alicia Keys, Madonna, John Legend, Ne-Yo, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Barbra Streisand and Mary J. Blige have come out as Obama supporters.
Even though their marriage is kaput, Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez are also both rooting for the president come November.
But for a buttoned-up politician, Romney really knows how to rock.
KISS frontman Gene Simmons is one of the stars singing Romney’s praises. Calling Obama a “piss-poor president,” Simmons said in an interview last week, “[Romney’s] much more qualified. He’s a businessman … He knows how to create jobs.”
The former Massachusetts governor also has a fan in Kid Rock, who introduced Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), at a rally earlier this month. The “Born Free” songster said at the time, "It is a little difficult to put myself in this position, knowing it may alienate a few fans, but you know what? I really believe strongly that it's OK to disagree on politics and the direction of our country without hating one another."
Ted Nugent, country stars Rodney Atkins, Lee Greenwood, Lane Turner and Trace Adkins and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Johnny Van Zant have all voiced their support for Romney.
When it comes to big-screen stars, Obama has accrued plenty of love from the A-list crowd. The commander in chief’s cadre of high-profile celebs includes Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson, Robert De Niro, Robert Redford, Scarlett Johannson, James Brolin, Morgan Freeman, Samuel L. Jackson, Demi Moore, Ashley Judd (who served as a delegate at the Democratic National Convention), Leonardo DiCaprio and Salma Hayek.
Earlier this year, George Clooney hosted an Obama fundraiser at his Los Angeles home. Another campaign event, attended by Meryl Streep, was held at the New York digs of Matthew Broderick and “Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker in June.
Romney’s most notable Hollywood hotshot was unveiled in a “surprise” reveal at the Republican National Convention in August. During his famous (and, some would argue, infamous) address to a chair representing Obama, Clint Eastwood said, “I just think that there is so much to be done, and I think that Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan are two guys that can come along.”
“Clueless” star Stacey Dash, Robert Duvall, Academy Award winner Jon Voight and James Woods have indicated they’ll be casting a ballot for Romney on Election Day.
Even “Mean Girls” starlet and party-loving actress Lindsay Lohan is getting in on the celebrity endorsement action. Earlier this month the New York-born wild child told reporters, “I think unemployment is very important for now, so as of now I think [my vote] is Mitt Romney.” But on Monday, Lohan re-tweeted a Twitter post supporting Obama, before quickly deleting the message.
Television actors and actresses
In terms of small-screen supporters, Romney very well might have the classic ’90s TV genre all wrapped up.
Some of the biggest names from Generation X television shows, such as “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” star Dean Cain, “Seinfeld” actor John O’Hurley, “Walker, Texas Ranger” butt-kicker Chuck Norris and “Full House” cutie Candace Cameron Bure say they’re picking Romney for president.
Obama’s crop of boob-tube celebs includes “America’s Got Talent” host Nick Cannon, “The View” panelist Whoopi Goldberg, “30 Rock” regular Elizabeth Banks, Jon Hamm of AMC’s “Mad Men,” “Hot in Cleveland” nonagenarian Betty White and “Glee” actress Jane Lynch.
Eva Longoria, of “Desperate Housewives” fame, was given a prime speaking spot at the Democratic National Convention. The actress serves as a campaign co-chairwoman for the Obama camp.
Celeb endorsements: Proceed with caution?
But, as Rutgers University political science Professor Ross Baker contends, all these celebrity endorsements might mean squat to voters. Calling them sometimes counterproductive, Baker says support from “controversial” people in the public eye, such as Madonna and Lady Gaga, can actually cause a backlash effect: “A lot of celebrities have lifestyles that are a little bit scary to people … They have to be approached with caution.”
There might be star worshippers so enthralled by Hollywood that they pick their candidates based on the endorsements from the celebs they love. But Baker says they “probably don’t vote.”
The scholar and author adds, “The instability, the overuse of drugs and alcohol — the general unconventional nature of a lot of celebrity lifestyles leaves people saying, ‘What value does this endorsement have? Is my candidate getting endorsements from somebody espousing views that I don’t espouse?’ It’s definitely a two-edged sword.”
—Brian Tam contributed to this report.