Born to Fly Air Force One: `Pretty Cool’

Photograph by Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

Bruce Springsteen campaigns on behalf of President Barack Obama and the democratic party at Cuyahoga Community College, on October 18, 2012 in Parma, Ohio.

Updated at 12:40 pm and 2:50 pm EST

The Boss is flying Air Force One.

No — not that boss, though, of course the president will be there too.

With Bruce Springsteen performing at all three of President Barack Obama’s rallies on the last day of the campaign today, he was also hitching a ride with the president from Madison, Wisconsin, to Columbus, Ohio, then flying on his own to meet the president at the final rally in Des Moines. Jay-Z will also be appearing in Columbus for the president.

“It was pretty cool,” Springsteen said after stepping off the plane with wife Patti. He said he had chatted with the president about the effects of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey. He also said he’s “feeling pretty hopeful” about the Jersey Shore’s recovery.

Springsteen, a guitar slung over his shoulder on stage with an audience of 18,000 in Madison, said that  “for the last 30 years I’ve been writing in my music about the distance between the American dream and the American reality.”

“Our vote tomorrow is the one undeniable way we get to determine the distance in that equation,” said the balladeer, drawing an on-stage hug from the president. Obama called Springsteen “an American treasure.”

The Obama campaign has used the time-honored tactic of drawing big, young crowds to rallies and keeping them engaged for hours by getting big-name artists who support them to perform there.

Katy Perry, Stevie Wonder, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews are among the others who have performed for Obama  in the closing days. Republican Mitt Romney has had Meat Loaf on his team, and will close tonight with Kid Rock in Manchester, New Hampshire.

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