Celebs Come Out for GOP, Too

Big names in St. Paul include Jon Voight, Gretchen Wilson and the Beach Boys.

ByABC News
September 3, 2008, 12:38 PM

Sept. 3, 2008 -- Celebrities brought Hollywood glitz to Denver last week at the Democratic National Convention, but that doesn't mean the Republicans arrived in the Twin Cities without their own dose of star wattage.

The names themselves -- Daddy Yankee, Jon Voight, Robert Downey, Jr., and Ben Stein among them -- don't quite hold the same selling power on an Us Weekly cover as the Democrats' lot, who counted the likes of Ben Affleck, Oprah Winfrey, Susan Sarandon, Kanye West, John Legend, and Jennifer Lopez among the stars that dazzled Denver.

Stein, an actor and economist who was a speechwriter for the Nixon and Ford administrations, said it "feels great" to be famous at the RNC but that other stars shine brighter.

"You could take every member of the Hollywood Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences and line them all up...I couldn't care less. I want to see somebody who is risking his life for the country, that's what I call a star," Stein said.

"We have several celebrities participating in this year's convention and we certainly don't use the numbers that were in Denver as any type of representation on behalf of our party," said RNC spokesperson Melissa Subbotin. "It's open to how you would define who is a celebrity."

Celebrity definitions aside, the famous are in St. Paul, and where they go, clusters of Republicans follow.

Country singer John Rich, who has been on the campaign trail with McCain, will be "Raisin' McCain" on the main floor of the convention Wednesday night to warm up the crowd in advance of vice presidential pick Gov. Sarah Palin's address to the convention. Rich will sing the national anthem, followed by an original tune written for the Republican nominee. He tells ABCnews.com he hopes to "get the delegates all out of their seats, get fists pumping and ready to hear Governor Palin."

"My job here at the RNC is probably just to inject a little more excitement into everything and be a part of the younger movement behind John McCain," said Rich, who also performed Tuesday night for Texas delegates with country star Gretchen Wilson. "Being a songwriter, this is my small way of supporting John McCain."

While Robert Duvall narrated Tuesday night's video highlighting the GOP's "Service" theme, actors Voight and Downey were spotted in the Xcel Center this week posing for pictures with delegates. Voight has been a vocal critic of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and effusive about the addition of Palin to the Republican ticket.