Saturday 04 October 2008
by: The Associated Press
Bruce Springsteen performs to a large crowd at a free outdoor concert supporting Barack Obama, in downtown Philadelphia Saturday. (Photo: Jacqueline Larma / AP)
Philadelphia - Bruce Springsteen called the Bush presidency "a disaster" and said many Americans have "justifiably lost faith" in the American dream.
The legendary rocker interrupted a seven-song acoustic set at a voter-registration rally in Philadelphia on Saturday to praise Democrat Barack Obama and bemoan the crises facing the next president. Springsteen said that America remains a house of dreams for some, but that too many people have given up on the promise of fairness and equality.
"I've spent 35 years writing about America and its people and the meaning of the American promise - a promise handed down right here in this city," said the New Jersey rocker, whose songs often depict down-on-their-luck, working-class dreamers. "Our everyday citizens ... have justifiably lost faith in its meaning."
The rally, planned by the Obama campaign a week ago, drew tens of thousands of people to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Springsteen approached the campaign and asked to help out, an Obama aide said. The Philadelphia event came just days before Monday's voter registration deadline in Pennsylvania.
"The Boss" also plans to perform at Obama gatherings in Ohio on Sunday and Michigan on Monday. On Oct. 16, he will join Billy Joel at an Obama fundraiser in New York City.
Springsteen cited the Iraq war, the recent economic turmoil and Hurricane Katrina as examples of the Bush administration's failures. He bookended the set with his rock classic "Promised Land" and Woody Guthrie's folk anthem, "This Land is My Land."
The Obama camp says its registration efforts have helped give Democrats a 1.2 million-voter advantage over Republicans in Pennsylvania, up from a 580,000-voter lead in 2004. The most recent Quinnipiac University poll, conducted late last month, showed Obama with a 54 percent to 39 percent lead over Republican John McCain among likely state voters.
Artist Colleen Dougherty-Bronstein, 55, of Yardley, was perhaps one of the few undecided voters on hand.
"I have concerns about both candidates," she said. "Are either of them strong enough to take on the mess that they'll be going on to?"