The stars shine brightly for candidates

‘Mad Men’s’ Jon Hamm attracts the ladies, but goal is to get them to vote
The Colorado Statesman

Advocates for President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney criss-crossed the state as the clock ticked down toward the Nov. 6 election.

The stars came out on Saturday as “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm, his wife, actress and screenwriter Jennifer Westfeldt, and “Law & Order: SVU” star Stephanie March plied the metro area in an Obama campaign van, making stops at field offices and what the campaign calls staging locations, where volunteers gather to pick up canvassing material, in Lakewood, Littleton and Denver.

Representing the Romney campaign, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Mexico Lt. Gov. John Sanchez and Attorney General John Suthers boarded the larger and more luxurious Romney-Ryan bus for a “Commit to Mitt Early Vote Express Tour” with stops at Republican Victory offices in Denver, Littleton, Greenwood Village and Castle Rock to rally volunteers and supporters.

“Mad Men” star Jon Hamm calls voters on Oct. 27 at an Obama campaign office in Lakewood. Hamm and his wife, screenwriter and actress Jennifer Westfeldt, and “Law & Order: SVU” actress Stephanie March made stops around the metro area and in Grand Junction last weekend to rally Obama supporters.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

It’s all about charging up volunteers as the campaigns chase every ballot — and try to twist the last, few undecided arms — in a race to the finish line.

After a group of about 50 Obama volunteers gave March a round of applause as she took the floor at a campaign office in a Ken Caryl strip mall, she smiled and shook her head.

Democratic communications strategist Laura Chapin ad “Law & Order: SVU” actress Stephanie March talk Texas politics on Oct. 27 at the Penalty Box, a Lakewood bar used by the Obama campaign as a staging location for get-out-the-vote canvassers. March joined actor Jon Hamm and his wife, screenwriter and actress Jennifer Westfeldt on a tour to rally Colorado volunteers.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

“You clap for us, but we should clap for you — we applaud your efforts,” she said. Noting that the actors had been making calls to voters at an earlier stop, she added, “This work is hard, you guys! You are on the front lines every day, door-to-door, feet hurting — this is a battleground state and you are fighting the battle for us, and we come here to respect you and support you.”

“You guys are all inspiring,” said Hamm, as at least a few of the volunteers swooned a bit. “The reason that is, is because of that one-to-one connection.”

Screenwriter and actress Jennifer Westfeldt, left, revs up Obama volunteers on Oct. 27 in Littleton as “Law & Order: SVU” actress Stephanie March look on.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

Hamm, who splits his time between decidedly non-swing states California and New York, said he felt it was important to travel to battleground states — the group was headed to Nevada later that night — to make a difference in the election.

“At a certain point the ads, drawn strictly down partisan lines, become noise,” he told the Obama volunteers. “What doesn’t become noise is one-on-one — that is really where the shift happens. As we know, these elections can come down to tens or hundreds of votes. That is where your work makes a difference.”

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers and New Mexico Lt. Gov. John Sanchez survey the crowd at a Romney-Ryan Commit to Mitt Early Vote Express Bus Tour stop on Oct. 27 in Castle Rock.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

After speaking to a similarly sized group gathered outside a Romney office in downtown Castle Rock, Ayotte made a similar point.

“Ten days out from the election, it’s about energized volunteers getting your voters to the polls and using those volunteers to convince those last undecided voters,” she said, adding that she was confident that recent polls showing a surge in support for Romney meant that the Republican would carry the state. When it comes time for voters to cast their ballots, she said, it will come down to a gut-check” on the economy and on the policy vision she said Obama has failed to offer.

“I think people that are undecided are coming to a decision, they’re looking at it and saying, do we want four more years like where we’ve been, and there’s no strong vision to change where we are, vs. the Romney-Ryan plan, with a strong, five-point plan on the economy. I’m very optimistic… that’s why I’m glad to be in Colorado today, you see a lot of energy,” she said.

Littleton resident Lucinda Schneller said she was thrilled that the actors had spent some time at her local Obama office.

“It inspired me,” Schneller said, though she added, “I didn’t take much inspiring. I’m very, very nervous that Romney could win this state. I’m doing everything I can, walking door-to-door. I’m inspired.”

“Mitt Romney is pulling ahead all over the country — it’s the momentum, it’s going to keep going, and he is going to be our next president,” said Marsha Haeflein, president of the Douglas County Republican Women, in the shadow of the Romney-Ryan bus. “I guess we’re fortunate to be in a swing state because we’re getting to see and meet all these fabulous Republicans from all over the country.”

Another group of imported Obama supporters, including actors Zachary Quinto, Rachael Leigh Cook and Ben McKenzie, made stops Saturday in Boulder, Fort Collins and Greeley before heading to Grand Junction to rally volunteers that night. And actress Laura Dern of Jurassic Park fame was scheduled to help Eagle County Democrats Get Out The Vote with phone calls on Thursday, the same day Obama planned on appearing in Boulder.

Ernest@coloradostatesman.com