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The role of celebrities in elections

Thursday, March 15, 2012

As the GOP presidential nomination battle drags on, now might be a good time to see which celebrities are supporting which candidates.

Not to help decide who should challenge President Barack Obama, who many of their colleagues are endorsing, but mostly for entertainment value.

For example, when Chuck Norris endorsed Mike Huckabee in 2008, the two collaborated for a humorous commercial in which Huckabee said, "My plan for securing the border? Two words: Chuck Norris."

When Norris ultimately decided to endorse former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich this year, I expected similar "Newt and Norris" ads, but they didn't really happen. Instead, Newt has underutilized the endorsement and Norris has only been used for a recorded call in Alabama and Mississippi before their contests Tuesday.

Other Gingrich endorsers include religious leaders Tim LaHaye and Ted Haggard.

Interestingly enough, Gingrich seems to be the only candidate that doesn't have the public support of a rocker.

Gene Simmons, Ted Nugent and Kid Rock have all lined up behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and Metallica stops short of endorsing former Sen. Rick Santorum, but says he supports him. Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry has tweeted support for Rep. Ron Paul.

No rockstar endorsement really highlights the need for Gingrich to utilize the endorsements he does have, especially after recent losses in Alabama and Mississippi, states he was banking on to regain relevance.

In addition to musical supporters, Romney is also backed by model Cindy Crawford, actor Jon Voight, businesswoman Meg Whitman, the Donald and former first daughter candidate Meghan McCain.

Paul's list of endorsers is arguably the most eclectic. Rapper Snoop Dogg is joined by singers Barry Manilow, Kelly Clarkson and Michelle Branch. Of course Snoop is mostly interested in Paul's promise to legalize one of his favorite song topics, while the other's motivations aren't quite as clear. Actor Vince Vaughn likes Paul's take on the Federal Reserve so much that he invited Dr. and Mrs. Paul to the premier of "Couples Retreat."

Other than Mustaine, there aren't any surprises amongst Santorum's supporters. They include Pat Boone, Michael W. Smith and Jim Bob Duggar of "19 Kids and Counting."

It's disappointing that these lists don't include more comedians. Presidential candidates make great punch lines.



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Gabe Licht
Junior Moments