It’s no surprise Bruce Springsteen goes on the road this week for President Barack Obama, touting the candidate he first helped in 2008 at stops Thursday in Ohio — where he’ll be joined by the politician who these days probably comes closest to generating a rock star response, Bill Clinton — and in Iowa.
Worthy of note is what Springsteen’s appearances illustrate about the changing nature of the U.S. election process. Part of his aim will be to spur early voting in both of the battleground states. As Bloomberg’s John McCormick noted in a story late last month, the more a campaign can essentially “bank” its core vote ahead of time, the more it can focus on spurring less rabid backers to cast ballots on Election Day itself, Nov. 6.
It was different — and more traditional — eight years ago when Springsteen teamed with that year’s Democratic presidential nominee, John Kerry, for rallies in Wisconsin and Ohio just five days before the Nov. 2 election. Each of those events, held on college campuses, was designed to spur enthusiasm that would carry over to Election Day.
Kerry ended up eking out a win over President George W. Bush in Wisconsin but fell about 120,000 votes short in Ohio — the result that sealed the incumbent’s re-election.
Springsteen may be otherwise occupied to provide such last-minute aid to Obama in this campaign. The day after his politicking in Ohio and Iowa, he and the E Street Band kick off a tour that starts in Canada and ends in early December in Arizona.
A Nov. 3 concert, the one closest to Election Day, finds him in Kentucky – one of the surest of sure Mitt Romney states. Still, the next tour date isn’t until eight days after that. And Kentucky does border Ohio…