Springsteen, Jay-Z put the pop in Obama rally
Singer Bruce Springsteen performs before the start of a campaign event for President Barack Obama near the State Capitol Building in Madison, Wis., Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Someone has to introduce the president.
On Monday, the final day of the presidential campaign, President Barack Obama, however, didn't bring along an opening act. He brought along two main acts.
Bruce Springsteen. Jay-Z. Theirs wasn't an introduction, it was pop culture moment.
The Boss was spending the entire day with Obama, traveling on Air Force One from Madison, Wis., to Columbus, Ohio, and then to Des Moines, Iowa, where Obama planned a coda for his campaign, a finale where his run for the presidency began five years ago.
Jay-Z boomed his way into Columbus's Nationwide Arena, performing a rendition of his hit "99 Problems" with a political twist for a crowd estimated by fire officials at more than 15,000 people. He changed a key R-rated word to make his own political endorsement. "I got 99 problems but Mitt ain't one," he sang.
Jay-Z performs at the grassroots rally in support of President Barack Obama at the Nationwide Arena on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Invision/AP)
"They tell the story of what our country is," Obama said of the two performers, "but also of what it should be and what it can be."
Springsteen added a whole new sense of vigor, even giddiness, to the Obama entourage, with many of the president's aides and advisers clearly star-struck by the rocker's presence.
Springsteen, in jeans, black boots, a work shirt, vest and leather jacket, was not wearing the typical Air Force One attire. But the Obama camp has left formality aside; many aides are growing beards through Election Day and ties have been left behind in favor of sweaters for the chilly outdoor events during the last hours of the campaign.
Asked if there was any downside to using celebrity glitz instead of substance to drive voters to the polls in the final days, Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki laughed. "I think Bruce Springsteen might be offended by you calling him glitzy," she said.