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Hollywood Makes A Final Push for 2012

Perry_obamaHollywood figures from the left and the right weighed in in the final
weekend before the election, with producers and writers canvassing in
swing states, stars pushing a flood of new get-out-the-vote Web videos
and a collection of musical artists hitting the trail with President
Obama and Mitt Romney to rally supporters.

Rupert Murdoch, one of the few outspoken media CEOs who is backing
Romney, took to Twitter at several points during the weekend to offer
his latest views of the state of the race. He wrote Sunday morning,
“Seems slight edge to Obama, but Romney seeing small late surge. Many
state polls look unreliable.”

Norman Lear, writing at the Huffington Post, implored voters to
consider the consequences of a Romney win on the Supreme Court. But in
an interview, he predicted an Obama win on Tuesday.

Though Obama’s campaign doesn’t have the historic import of four
years ago, entertainment supporters tried to convey a sense of urgency
in getting out the vote, warning of the consequences if Romney prevails
on Tuesday.

Will.i.am debuted a new video, “#GreatTimes,” aimed at getting
voters to the polls and trying to capture some of the inspiration of his
2008 hit “Yes, We Can.” In a video for the Obama campaign, Will Ferrell
pledged to cook dinner, move furniture or even eat garbage if that is
what it took to get viewers to the polls. Cher and Kathy Griffin warned
that, in Griffin’s words, “Romney and his buddies are trying to turn
back time on women’s rights.” “This is sick stuff,” Cher said of
statements by Richard Mourdock, GOP Senate candidate in Indiana.

A satirical video from Joss Whedon, in which he posits that
Romney would be the best candidate to “finally put this country back on
the path to a zombie apocalypse,” passed 6.1 million views on YouTube,
making it one of the most popular viral videos of the election cycle.
Its popularity was perhaps driven not just by pickup in the national
media but by Whedon’s huge following as creator of “Buffy, the Vampire
Slayer” and director and writer of “The Avengers.” Although a whimsical
attack on Romney, the video generally got a favorable reaction from
comments posted at one of Whedon’s fan sites, Whedonesque.

The videos extended to other races. James Franco, Marisa Tomei
and other celebrities headlined a series of spots in favor of
California’s Proposition 37, which would require labeling of genetically
engineered foods, while Lady Gaga taped a get-out-the-vote video to
drum up support for a quartet of same-sex marriage initiatives on
ballots in Minnesota, Maryland, Maine and Washington.

Political consultant Lara Bergthold, who as deputy national
political director for John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004
organized industry surrogates and support that year, said that the viral
videos “are great at doing two things: creating a cool vibe for
citizenship that gives young people the feeling that they’re missing out
if they’re not participating. (It) inserts humor into a process that by
now feels dominated by negative ads and excessive voter contact. I
think this year’s videos have been the best ever.”

Bergthold, now an adviser to Lear, was in Nevada along with a
group of volunteers from Los Angeles who trekked to Las Vegas to canvass
for the Obama campaign. They included Marti Noxon, Sarah Timberman, Ed
Redlich, Jane Cha, Rob Ramsey, Vince Ventresca and Monica Rosenthal.

A phone bank is set up at Culver Studios in Culver City, where volunteers are contacting voters in swing states. Among those making calls: Burt Bacharach and Neil Diamond. “If I call you, don’t hang up. It’s really me and I need you,” Diamond tweeted on Sunday evening.

Others were dispatched to the crucial swing state of Ohio. One of
Obama’s campaign bundlers, Noah Mamet, a political and philanthropic
consultant with a specialty in entertainment, was with three others from
his L.A. office in Cincinnati, where they knocked “on over a thousand
doors,” he said.

“The enthusiasm is very high and people are motivated to vote,”
Mamet said. “It is also true that some voters in Ohio just want the
election to be over since they’ve in inundated most of the year.”

He added, “The Obama campaign has assembled the best field
operation in the history of American politics and the feeling is the
Romney campaign, based mostly on paid media, won’t be able to compete
with the massive statewide Democratic operation in turning out actual
voters on Tuesday.”

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