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Prez Box

Endorsement Fever

By Jill Yesko | Posted 1/21/2004

Courting endorsements is an age-old enterprise for presidential candidates. But in this fame-obsessed, American Idol -crazed society, it seems, just any endorsement won't do--these days, there's no quicker or easier way to pump up a candidate's rating than to tout a few A-list endorsements. (Note: While candidates often openly vie for the endorsement of political power players like unions and political colleagues, celebrities who affix themselves to candidates--say, Madonna, who announced her support for Democrat Gen. Wesley Clark--can sometimes be more a of a liability than an asset to a campaign.) It's no surprise that Ohio congressman and Democratic contender Dennis Kucinch, the lefty's lefty, has earned the endorsement of the hemp-and-granola crowd. He counts Pat Simmons of the Doobie Brothers, the U.S. Marijuana Party, and John McConnell, founder of Earth Day, as supporters of his progressive campaign. Other Kucinich endorsers include Jesse Heiwa of Queers for Racial and Economic Justice and the Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee.

Howard Dean, once the Democratic frontrunner is still stinging from the beating he took in the Iowa caucuses, but at least he has a celebrity corner populated by Hollywood heavies including longtime Democratic cheerleaders Alec and William Baldwin, the West Wing's Martin Sheen and Bradley Whitford, Whoopi Goldberg, and power couple Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Cornering the Grammy vote, Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) counts among his musical supporters Moby, Carole King, and Steven Stills.

Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) looks to fellow Southerners Hootie and the Blowfish to back him in the election.

Behind curtain No. 2, Monty Hall of Let's Make a Deal fame is supporting Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Conn.).

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who is actually something of a celebrity himself, says he doesn't put much stock in endorsements of any kind.

"I never had any need for endorsements because, for me, the are like co-signers," he said in a recent speech. "Folks who need co-signers have bad credit."

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