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November 05, 2012

Springsteen takes the stage on Obama's final day of campaigning

MadisonLegendary rocker Bruce Springsteen entertained 18,000 at an outdoor rally for President Obama on a cold morning in Madison, Wisc. on Monday, the final day of campaigning before the election.

Springsteen played a few classics, including the Promised Land, and one silly song he wrote for Obama. But he spent as much time talking up Obama as he did singing. He joked that he only supported Obama so he could ride on Air Force One and that if Obama doesn't win, the president would try his hand at a singing career. But most of the time he was serious about the job Obama did and what he could do.

"The future is rarely a tide rushing in,'' Springsteen said. "It's a slow steady march, inch by inch."

Supporters, bundled up in coats and gloves, stood outside for hours, some since before 6 am for the noontime rally. They filled the open square in front of the Capitol, where an enormous U.S. flag was flapped in the wind. Gov. Scott Walker, no supporter of Obama's, has an office in the building, but was not likely there on the day before his fellow Republican and Wisconsin native, Paul Ryan, is on the ballot as their party's vice presidential nominee. Supporters held blue "Forward!" signs and chanted "Four more years!"

Theboss"Today we have another battle,'' Springsteen said. "I stood with President Obama four years ago and I'm proud to stand with him today."

Obama, wearing a jacket, hugged Springsteen when he took the stage, telling the crowd that The Boss is an "American treasure." 

The president seemed a bit nostalgic on his last day of compaigning, traveling with his senior aides David Axelrod, Robert Gibbs and David Ploufee. But he said flying around with Springsteen on the last day wasn't exactly a bad way to spend the day.

Obama delivered his standard stump speech, telling the enthusiastic crowd that he, not Romney, was a change agent. "We've got more change to make!" he said.  

After the event, Springsteen and wife, Patti Scialfa, got inside a black SUV marked "guest" in the president's motorcade as his song, an Obama rally favorite, "We take care of own" is playing in the background.

Republicans quickly pounced. Eight years, 80,000 supporters turned out when Springsteen appeared in Madison, long known for its liberal leanings, with then Democratic nominee, John Kerry.

In an email wih the subject line: "Obama, WI just isn't that into you,'' the Republican National Committee wrote: In a state Obama won by 14 points just four years ago: 80k for Kerry/Springsteen in 2004. 18k for Obama/Springsteen in 2012. And in Madison of all places…"

Obama -- and Springsteen -- head to Columbus, Ohio and Des Moines, Iowa, where he will hold his last campaign rally with First Lady Michelle Obama before flying to Chicago for Election Day. Jay-Z will also perform in Columbus. 

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, is spending the day in the swing state of Virginia, first in Northern Virginia and then Richmond. They were joined by singer John Mellencamp.


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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