Bruce Springsteen and John Kerry electrified a huge crowd in Madison, Wisconsin, at midday rally on October 28.
Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle estimated the crowd at "more than 80,000."
Springsteen, who is traveling with the Kerry campaign for the last five days of the election drive, opened his two-song set with "Promised Land." In the song, he urges people to "blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and broken hearted."
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is joined by musician Bruce Springsteen at a campaign rally at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin. A crowd of least 80,000 people attended the rally. (AFP/Hector Mata)
Then he spoke directly to the audience. "I've been writing songs about America for thirty year, about what America stands for, and what America fights for," he said. "The essential ideas of America's identity are what is at stake November 2."
He praised Kerry for honoring America's ideals, for addressing issues of economic justice, health care, civil rights, the environment, for advocating "a sane and responsible foreign policy," and for "safeguarding our precious democracy."
He said Kerry has "an adult view" of our place in the world and "understands that we are not infallible." He said Kerry has helped America face its "hard truths" and find a "deeper patriotism" and will "make our world a better and a safer place."
Springsteen invoked the name of Paul Wellstone, mentioning that the late Senator from Minnesota had a saying, "The future is for the passionate." To that, Springsteen added: "Well, the future is now, and let your passions loose. The country we carry in our hearts is waiting."
He ended with Kerry's anthem, "No Retreat, No Surrender," which contains the line, "I want to sleep underneath peaceful skies."
After the song, Kerry bounded onto the stage and clasped Springsteen's hand and praised him for singing about real people. "The people he sings about," said Kerry, "are the people we need to fight for and have representation for in the White House."
Then Kerry cracked a joke: "When George Bush heard the Boss was going to be with me today, he thought I was talking about Dick Cheney."
He went over the familiar ground of his stump speech, but highlighted the story of the unguarded explosives' depot in Iraq.
"This week's story about the missing explosives," he said, underscores "the continuing misjudgments of the President. According to the commanders on the ground . . . our forces were never, ever given the orders to secure the ammo depot."
Kerry slammed Bush for his "shifting explanations" and his penchant for "blaming anybody but himself." In Bush's Administration, Kerry said, "the buck stops anywhere but with themselves."
Kerry was quick to praise the troops. "Our troops on the ground are doing a heroic job," he said. "They're doing their job. The commander in chief is not doing his."
He chided Bush for not protecting America's ports and chemical plants and airplane cargoes and for saying, in the first debate, "How are we going to pay for that?"
And he mocked Bush for repeating in that debate, "It's hard work. It's hard work. It's hard work."
Kerry said, "I'm ready and impatient to relieve the President of that hard work and to get to work for America."
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