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Candidates find show business is good election business // Star stumpers
[CITY Edition]
St. Petersburg Times - St. Petersburg, Fla.
Author: Rosenthal, Donna
Date: Oct 29, 1988
Start Page: 1.D
Section: FLORIDIAN
Abstract (Document Summary)

Are the stars out campaigning tonight? Probably. With only days to go before the presidential election, paparazzi politics are in full swing. The Dukakis and [George] Bush camps have hauled out the celebrity artillery to attract free media attention, voters and, of course, donors with bulging wallets.

Consider the invasion from Hollywood at the political conventions this year. At the Democrats' pow-wow in Atlanta, the candidate's Academy Award-winning cousin, Olympia Dukakis, introduced him. And entertainers such as Ed Asner, Mike Farrell, Burgess Meredith, Linda Lavin, Dionne Warwick, Rob Lowe, Ally Sheedy, Morgan Fairchild, Justine Bateman, Meg Ryan and Judd Nelson added some pizazz to Michael Dukakis' buttoned-down campaign.

``TV's enormous impact has made celebrities better known than some of our greatest thinkers,`` says Phyllis Diller, a Bush backer. No one blinked when Tom Selleck introduced First Lady Nancy Reagan at the Republican convention. Or when Russian comic Yakov Smirnoff, a naturalized American, led the Pledge of Allegiance, or when Helen Hayes chatted up senior GOP delegates. The stars often mean free television time for the candidates, whose coffers are usually drained by buying media time. The cameras rolled when Richard Gere went stumping for Dukakis in frozen Iowa and zoomed in on Aretha Franklin when she sang at a Dukakis Labor Day rally in Detroit.

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