Singer to join former president Bill Clinton at rally in Parma on 18 October as Midwestern state assumes great importance.
The ever-popular singer-songwriter, whose songs about working-class life in his native New Jersey span the political divide, will appear next week at an Obama campaign event.
Springsteen will take the stage at a rally in Parma, Ohio, on 18 October. It is perhaps the surest way to gather a crowd for a campaign that has been criticised by some for not generating the same level of enthusiasm that marked the historic 2008 election. It is also a rare chance to see Springsteen play live for free.
Ohio is shaping up to be perhaps the single most important battleground state in the race.
The Midwestern state is made up of numerous demographics – from its southern-influenced border with Kentucky to its “Rust Belt” north-western corner, around Cleveland – and is a prime target for Obama and resurgent Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
“Bruce Springsteen’s values echo what the president and vice-president stand for: hard work, fairness, integrity,” said Jim Messina, Obama for America’s campaign manager. “His appearances will help with our get out the vote effort in these critical swing states.”
But Springsteen will not be alone in Ohio. He will be appearing alongside former president Bill Clinton, who has been hitting the campaign trail for Obama with increasingly frequent speeches and rallies. He also gave what was widely seen as by far the best speech of the party convention season, outshining Obama’s own effort in Charlotte.
Clinton’s motivations combine a genuine desire to see a Democrat re-elected, an attempt to polish his own image as a elder statesman of American politics and efforts to help his wife, secretary of state Hillary Clinton, should she decide to mount another presidential bid in 2016.
In Indianapolis on Friday, where Clinton was speaking to boost Senate Democratic hopeful Joe Donnelly, he said he hadn’t expected to be so involved in the 2012 campaign. But Hillary Clinton is busy as secretary of state, and daughter Chelsea works for a broadcast network, he quipped.
“So you’re stuck with me,” Clinton told the crowd.
That is likely a relief to the Obama team, which has in the past been somewhat estranged from Clinton.
A poor performance in the first presidential debate by Obama has reversed months of momentum for the president’s campaign team and allowed Romney to establish a narrow gap in the rolling average of polls with under a month to go.