News :: Politics

Sans Chairs, Celebrities Come to Charlotte for DNC

Thursday Sep 6, 2012
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Celebrities are flocking to Charlotte for the Democratic convention, albeit without the prop furniture that made Clint Eastwood’s appearance at last week’s Republican convention so talked about.

Thus far, the DNC has seen a large number of celebrity attendees, but not quite the outpouring of high-wattage support President Barack Obama engendered in 2008. Surprise guests could still arrive, like Eastwood did for his unexpected speech bestride an empty seat at the RNC.

But without Obama’s most famous supporters - Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck, Anne Hathaway - the likelihood of any celebrity causing the stir Eastwood did seems slim.

Eva Longoria, a co-chair of Obama’s reelection campaign, was due to address delegates Wednesday. Ashley Judd is attending as a Tennessee delegate. Will.i.am, who wrote the song "Yes We Can" for Obama’s 2008 run, attended former President Bill Clinton’s fundraiser Tuesday, and was to join a panel about innovative solutions to unemployment on Wednesday.

Kal Penn, the "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" actor who earlier worked as associate director in the White House Office of Public Engagement, addressed the crowd on Tuesday. His comedic speech included a reference to Eastwood.

"I’ve worked on a lot of fun movies, but my favorite job was having a boss who gave the order to take out Bin Laden and who’s cool with all of us getting gay married," said Penn. "So thank you invisible man in the chair for that."

Penn is also hosting live streaming coverage of the convention Thursday for BarackObama.com. His guests are expected to include Elizabeth Banks and Olivia Wilde, among others. Penn also created a YouTube video in which he receives a phone call from Obama while he sits on a couch eating pizza with his "Harold and Kumar" co-star, John Cho.

Jessica Alba is hosting a closing party Thursday with her husband Cash Warren. Also in Charlotte for the convention are Rosario Dawson, America Ferrera and Russell Simmons.

The biggest celebrity infusion will likely come Thursday ahead of Obama’s speech and acceptance of the party’s nomination. Among those scheduled to perform Thursday are the Foo Fighters, James Taylor, Mary J. Blige, Earth Wind and Fire, and Marc Anthony, who is to sing the national anthem. Amber Riley of "Glee" sang on Tuesday.

Jeff Bridges, performing with his band the Abiders, is in Charlotte after a trip last week to Tampa for the RNC. He’s seeking bipartisan support for the No Kid Hungry campaign.

Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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