Celebrities Who Are Involved in Politics
To achieve success, any would-be politician has to have the money to support a campaign for public office. Making use of celebrity power helps in two ways: it attracts some much-needed funds, and it helps the popularity of the politician. The two candidates for the November 2012 general election in the United States, President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney, have made use of some high-profile celebrities to help make their campaigns more attractive to the average voter. The hope is that if a certain celebrity publicly comes out and backs a candidate, then fans of that celebrity will also support the candidate. Listed below are some well-known celebrities who have come out in support of President Barack Obama or Senator Mitt Romney.
Although a long-time Democrat, George Clooney was not known for active participation in politics until he came out in support of then-Senator Barack Obama, urging him to make a run for the presidency. This occurred in late 2006, well before Obama first announced his campaign for president. Clooney's enthusiasm came from his belief that having a black president would change the political landscape of the country completely. For both the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, Clooney has publicly backed President Obama. Part of his contribution has included hosting political events among Hollywood celebrities to raise funds for President Obama's campaign. Clooney is extremely passionate about allowing gay couples to marry, and President Obama has recently come out in support of this idea, a move that could have been influenced by Clooney's high profile backing.
Clint Eastwood has had a long-standing interest in American politics, both at the state level and the federal level. Eastwood first registered himself as a Republican in 1952, when he voted for President Eisenhower. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Eastwood backed President Nixon in both of his presidential campaigns. In 1986, Eastwood made his first foray into local politics by being elected mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea in California. For the 2008 presidential election, Eastwood came out in support of Senator John McCain even though he was not totally against the idea of Barack Obama becoming president. During the campaign for the 2012 presidential election, Eastwood originally backed Senator Ron Paul, but he later endorsed Mitt Romney once the latter had secured the Republican nomination for president. At the 2012 Republican National Convention, Eastwood made a surprise appearance in which he spent more than 10 minutes talking to an empty chair from the podium. After his speech, Eastwood was widely criticized for rambling. Despite the outcry, Eastwood remains a strong supporter of Mitt Romney's campaign for president and may help sway the senior vote towards Romney.
Before the 2008 presidential election, Oprah Winfrey had never come out and publicly endorsed a candidate. This may seem surprising, given her tremendous reach among the general population due to the huge success of her talk show. During the campaign of the 2008 election, Winfrey held a fundraiser for Obama to try and drum up support for his campaign. Winfrey also joined Obama on the campaign trail and made a series of appearances on stage at some of his political rallies. Winfrey's pulling power was considered to be a major factor in the success of Obama's campaign for president. For the 2012 presidential election, Winfrey has stated that she still supports President Obama but that she won't be making any public appearances or contributing to the campaign in any way. It remains to be seen whether this will significantly affect the outcome of the election, although many of her fans may still vote for Obama because of the previous endorsement for his presidency.
Like Clint Eastwood, Jon Voight has long been a supporter of the Republican Party. However, during the 1960s, JFK was the politician whom Voight looked up to; it was only after the president's assassination that Voight became more conservative. During the 1970s, Voight protested strongly against the Vietnam War. In the 2000s, Voight was a vocal supporter of President George W. Bush. For the 2008 general election, Voight initially endorsed former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani but later supported John McCain once it became clear that McCain would become the nominee. Throughout President Obama's tenure, Voight has been a strong critic of his administration, saying that the president is trying to turn the United States into a socialist country. Voight endorsed Mitt Romney early in the campaign for the Republican nominee for president, saying that he was strong and honest.