Hollywood Cash: Celebrities Raise Money for Obama and McCain

Hollywood's Political Party

Even the Simpsons have taken note of the disparity between the Democratic and Republican support from Hollywood. In January, the cartoon sitcom had both parties courting character Ralph Wiggum to run on their ticket for president.

Political blogger Arianna Huffington, portrayed on the show as a Democratic operative, told Wiggum: "Ralph, darling, be a Democrat. We have Alec Baldwin. They have Stephen Baldwin. They might as well not even have a Baldwin."

Ross said that while there might be fewer Republican stars in politics, those that enter tend to be more active and actually run for office themselves. Democratic stars tend to lend their names to others' campaigns.

"They don't want to give up their careers for their politics," Ross said.

Big name Republicans who have held office include Sonny Bono, Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Rockstar Backfire

When Obama accepted the nomination last week, he did so in a stadium packed with 80,000 delegates, supporters and what some people called "fans." The crowd was entertained by Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder, will.i.am and John Legend.

Obama in particular risks being seen more of a rock star than a commander in chief, and McCain has been quick to seize on Obama's links with celebrity. Last month, he aired an attack ad characterizing Obama as a peer of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

Additionally, a candidate's choice in celebrities can also backfire.

Albert L. May, a professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University, also said that celebrities do not necessarily change people's minds but help draw attention to the candidates' message.

"We are a celebrity-soaked culture and a celebrity-soaked media, and that bleeds over to politics more than in the past, and increasingly so," May said.

But not all celebrity endorsements are a blessing.

Jane Fonda, for instance, said May, has been a controversial and polarizing figure. Heston also was controversial. "They can bring that type of baggage with them."

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