Former President Bill Clinton did something Thursday he said he’s never done before: “Be the warm-up act for Bruce Springsteen.”
Springsteen, whose song “We Take Care of Our Own” closes out almost every one of President Obama’s stump speeches, is a constant presence on the trail. But until Thursday, he hadn’t shown up in person.
On Wednesday, Springsteen made his endorsement of Obama official in a message on his website, acknowledging the last four years have been tough, but that Obama has nevertheless “been able to do a great many things that many of us deeply support.” Despite saying earlier this year that he didn’t plan to hit the trail like he did in 2004 for John Kerry and 2008 for Obama, The Boss and Clinton put on a good, long show in Parma, Ohio.
“I get to speak after President Clinton,” Springsteen said, taking the stage after a long speech by the former president. “That is like going on after Elvis.”
Though he mostly played, Springsteen also offered his own pitch for Obama’s re-election. “I will now be going into President Obama’s policies, but in greater depth than President Clinton,” he joked, before launching into defense of President Obama’s health care law, Wall Street reform and women’s rights.
In his warm-up act, Clinton spoke on a range of issues, opening with GOP-sponsored voting laws and finally ending on Obama’s auto-industry rescue. He ended by telling the audience that the choice to back Obama was simple. “I love Ohio, it’s an old school place,” Clinton said. “The president had your back. You’ve gotta have his back now.”
Springsteen said he tried to write a song about Obama but that it was hard to find words to rhyme with “Obama.” The result was a song that included a lyric about kissing your “mama.”
Springsteen ended his show saying “vote! vote! vote! vote!” and singing the song “Thunder Road.” After Ohio, Springsteen was scheduled to fly to Iowa for a second event.
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.