The Top 10 Celebrities Who Political Insiders Want on Their Campaigns

Bruce Springsteen
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James A. Barnes and Julia Edwards
April 29, 2011, 8:10 a.m.

En­ter­tain­ers’ en­dorse­ments of polit­ic­al can­did­ates have long ad­ded flair to a cam­paign, but their im­port­ance is hard to quanti­fy. Na­tion­al Journ­al asked its Re­pub­lic­an and Demo­crat­ic In­siders to pick three celebrit­ies who were most ef­fect­ive at rais­ing funds and bring­ing voters to their cam­paigns. In this gal­lery, we rank the top five stars whom each party wants on their fun­drais­ing stage.

#1 for Demo­crats: Oprah Win­frey

The talk-show god­dess was favored by 84 per­cent of Demo­crat­ic In­siders. One In­sider said she “brings wo­men and cred­ib­il­ity; she is a veri­fi­er that says you’re real.”

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#1 for Re­pub­lic­ans: Chuck Nor­ris

Nor­ris’s en­dorse­ment of 2008 pres­id­en­tial con­tender Mike Hucka­bee was one of the most mem­or­able celebrity ap­pear­ances in polit­ics. Fourty-six per­cent of In­siders se­lec­ted Nor­ris. “We are the ‘daddy party’ and the Dems are the ‘mommy party.’ No one makes that more ap­par­ent than Chuck,” one GOP In­sider said.

#2 for Demo­crats: Bruce Spring­steen

As one In­sider put it, “When your name is ‘the Boss,’ your words carry weight.” Spring­steen was favored by 77 per­cent of Demo­crats, many of whom say the sing­er is es­pe­cially pop­u­lar with baby boomers.

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# 2 for Re­pub­lic­ans: Gary Sin­ise

More than 15 years have passed since Sin­ise played the wheel­chair-bound vet­er­an “Lieu­ten­ant Dan” in For­rest Gump, but, says one In­sider, “his care and con­cern for vet­er­ans is real and long last­ing.” Forty-three per­cent of Re­pub­lic­an In­siders rank Sin­ise among their top three most ef­fect­ive celebrity cam­paign­ers.

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#3 for Demo­crats: Jon Stew­art

Al­though Stew­art has nev­er of­fi­cially en­dorsed a can­did­ate, his at­tacks on the me­dia and politi­cians have en­sured him a strong base among young Demo­crat­ic voters. Fifty per­cent of Demo­crat­ic In­siders fa­vor him, and one said, “He cap­tures the angst and cyn­icism of a gen­er­a­tion of young­er voters.” Here, Stew­art in­ter­views Pres­id­ent Obama in Wash­ing­ton days be­fore gar­ner­ing a crowd or more than 100,000 for the “Rally to Re­store San­ity.” Obama was the first sit­ting pres­id­ent to ap­pear on the show.

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# 3 for Re­pub­lic­ans: Toby Keith

The out­spoken coun­try star made his case for pat­ri­ot­ism after the Septem­ber 11 at­tacks, singing “We’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the Amer­ic­an way.” But since then, his pres­ence in polit­ics has fallen off. One In­sider said, “I wish we’d see more of him.” Thirty-sev­en per­cent of Re­pub­lic­an In­siders still see Keith as an ef­fect­ive en­dors­er.

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# 4 for Demo­crats: Sheryl Crow

Crow’s lyr­ics are lib­er­al but not too far left to isol­ate swing voters, ac­cord­ing to 18 per­cent of Demo­crat­ic In­siders who ranked her as one of the most ef­fect­ive celebrity cam­paign­ers. As one re­spond­ent put it, “She man­ages to sup­port her can­did­ates without an­noy­ing the op­pos­i­tion.” One naysay­er feels oth­er­wise, however: “Left-wing­ers don’t help.”

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#4 for Re­pub­lic­ans: Lee Green­wood

Green­wood’s “Proud to be an Amer­ic­an” an­them wowed con­ser­vat­ive sup­port­ers of Ron­ald Re­agan in the ‘80s, and it con­tin­ues to stir nos­tal­gia and pat­ri­ot­ism, “even amongst in­de­pend­ents,” one In­sider says. Twenty-sev­en per­cent of In­siders chose Green­wood as an ef­fect­ive celebrity cam­paign­er.

# 5 for Demo­crats: Jay-Z

The rap­per at­ten­ded Obama’s in­aug­ur­a­tion in 2009, as seen above, with Bey­once. Among our Demo­crat­ic In­siders, 15 per­cent said that Jay-Z is an ef­fect­ive cam­paign­er, rank­ing him No. 5 out of 10. As one poll par­ti­cipant said, Jay-Z is “great for get­ting young voters of all races to the polls. And Demo­crats will need blacks and whites to win 2012.”

#5 for Re­pub­lic­ans: Bo Derek

The act­ress and su­per­mod­el has been a well-known Re­pub­lic­an sup­port­er since her emer­gence as a star in the 1980s. Here, she sits in front of former Pres­id­ent George H.W. Bush and Bar­bara Bush at the 2000 Re­pub­lic­an Na­tion­al Con­ven­tion, when the party chose their son as its pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate. Derek won the votes of 25 per­cent of our poll’s par­ti­cipants. As one blunt re­spon­der put it, her pop­ular­ity is largely due to the fact that “there are still ‘men of a cer­tain age’ who re­mem­ber that poster.” 

The Na­tion­al Journ­al Polit­ic­al In­siders Poll is a reg­u­lar sur­vey of polit­ic­al op­er­at­ives, strategists, cam­paign con­sult­ants, and lob­by­ists in both parties. Be­low are the names of the In­siders who are sur­veyed:

Demo­crat­ic Polit­ic­al In­siders Jill Alp­er, John An­za­lone, Brad Ban­non, Dave Beat­tie, Andy Bech­hoe­fer, Cor­nell Belch­er, Matt Ben­nett, Mitchell W. Ber­ger, Mike Ber­man, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brath­waite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brew­er, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Deb Cal­la­han, Bon­nie Camp­bell, Bill Car­rick, Guy Cecil, Mar­tin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Co­hen, Jerry Craw­ford, Brendan Daly, Jeff Daniel­son, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott De­Fife, Jim De­mers, Tad Dev­ine, Dav­id Di Mar­tino, Debbie Din­gell, Mon­ica Dix­on, Patrick Dor­ton, Pat Du­jakovich, An­ita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve El­men­d­orf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Fer­son, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Fo­ley, Jef­frey For­bes, Vin­cent Fril­lici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Mi­chael Gonza­lez, Joe Grand­mais­on, Anna Green­berg, Stan Green­berg, Pat Griffin, Larry Griso­lano, Mi­chael Gron­stal, Lisa Grove, Mar­cia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Har­poot­li­an, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hat­t­away, Mike Henry, Kar­en Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Har­old Ickes, Mar­cus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jard­ing, Jona­thon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kauf­man, Lisa Koun­toupes, Celinda Lake, Dav­id Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Le­hane, Jeff Link, Bill Lynch, Bob Malo­ney, Steve Marchand, Jim Mar­gol­is, Paul Maslin, Keith Ma­son, Susan Mc­Cue, Ger­ald McEntee, Tom McMa­hon, Phil Mc­Namara, Dav­id Med­ina, Mi­chael Mee­han, Mark Mell­man, John Mer­rigan, Steve Murphy, Janet Na­pol­it­ano, Dav­id Nas­sar, Mar­cia Nich­ols, John Nor­ris, Tom Ochs, Tom O’Don­nell, Scott Par­ven, Jef­frey Peck, De­bora Pig­na­telli, Tony Podesta, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Re­iley, Steve Ric­chetti, Will Robin­son, Steve Rosenth­al, Dav­id Rudd, John Ry­an, Mi­chael Sar­geant, Stephanie Schriock, Wendy Sher­man, Terry Shu­maker, Sean Sin­clair, Phil Sing­er, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Kat­rina Swett Sarah, Swish­er, Doug Thor­nell, Jef­frey Tram­mell, Ed Tur­l­ing­ton, Rick Wien­er, James Wil­li­ams, JoDee Win­ter­hof, Bri­an Wolff, Jon Young­dahl, and Jim Zo­gby.

GOP Polit­ic­al In­siders Dan Al­len, Stan An­der­son, Gary An­dres, Saul­i­us (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bain­wol, Gary Bauer, Dav­id Beck­with, Paul Ben­necke, Clark Ben­son, Wayne Ber­man, Bri­an Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Bla­lock, Car­mine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bon­jean, Jeff Bu­ley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Carde­n­as, Danny Car­roll, Ron Christie, Jim Cic­coni, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Cor­man, Scott Cot­ting­ton, Greg Crist, Di­ane Crookham-John­son, Fer­gus Cul­len, Tom Dav­is, Mike Den­nehy, Ken Duber­stein, Steve Duprey, Debi Durham, Sara Fa­gen, Frank Fahren­kopf, John Fee­hery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Mindy Fletch­er, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Ben­jamin Gins­berg, Dav­id Gir­ard-di­Carlo, Bill Green­er, Lanny Grif­fith, Janet Mullins Gris­som, Doug Gross, Todd Har­ris, Steve Hart, Chris­toph­er Healy, Ral­ph Hell­mann, Chris Hen­ick, Terry Holt, Dav­id Ian­nel­li, Ed Ingle, Clark Judge, Dav­id Keat­ing, Dav­id Ken­sing­er, Bob Kjel­lander, Ed Kut­ler, Chris La­Civ­ita, Jim Lake, George S. LeMieux, Steve Lom­bardo, Kev­in Mad­den, Joel Maiola, Gary Malo­ney, Dav­id Mar­in, Mary Matal­in, Dan Mat­toon, Bri­an Mc­Cor­mack, Mark McKin­non, Kyle Mc­Slar­row, Ken Mehl­man, Jim Mer­rill, Lisa Cam­ooso Miller, Tim Mor­ris­on, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nel­son, Neil Ne­w­house, Dav­id Nor­cross, Zi­ad Ojakli, Jack Oliv­er, Todd Olsen, Con­nie Par­toy­an, Dana Peri­no, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, Dav­id Rehr, Tom Reyn­olds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, Dav­id Roeder­er, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, An­drew Shore, Kev­in Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steep­er, Bob Steven­son, Terry Sul­li­van, Eric Tan­en­blatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Tim­mons, War­ren Tomp­kins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Don­gen, Jan van Lo­huizen, Stew­art Ver­dery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee West­ine, Dave Win­ston, Ginny Wolfe, and Fred Wszolek.

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