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Obama's final campaign day takes on rock star feel

President Obama closes out his 2012 presidential campaign with performances from Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z during a rally in Ohio. Watch the president's entire speech.


COLUMBUS, OH -- The campaign stops of the 2012 election have ceased feeling like rock concerts -- they've become rock concerts.

It took no less than two of music's two biggest stars, Bruce Springsteen and Jay Z, to join forces on behalf of President Barack Obama on Monday to drive that point home.

Jason Reed / Reuters

President Barack Obama is greeted on stage by rapper Jay-Z at an election campaign rally in Columbus, Ohio, November 5, 2012 on the eve of the U.S. presidential elections.

But before the show and the afterparty and the hotel lobby, there’s the plane ride to the next gig. 

Springsteen told one reporter that his first flight on Air Force One, from Madison, Wis. to Columbus, was "pretty cool," and that he and the president had a chance to chat about the effects of Hurricane Sandy on New Jersey. And according to the Associated Press, the president also handed the phone over to Springsteen after getting an update on Sandy recovery from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Once at the gig, it had become clear that Springsteen has gotten a little bit of his own stump speech together for these events. For the second time today, he told a tongue-in-cheek story about the president asking him to write a campaign song that includes the campaign’s theme of “Forward” and the president’s name.  He then performed the hastily crafted song that includes lines like, “Usually this time of day I’m in my pajamas. Well, let’s vote for the man who got Osama. Forward and away we go.”

The 15,500-person audience in the not-quite-full Nationwide Arena enjoyed Springsteen’s performance, but it took a huge American flag unfurling, unrelenting bass and, well, Jay-Z to get hands in the air.

Reuters, Getty Images

In the final push in the 2012 presidential election, candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama make their last appeals to voters.

"HOVA" performed crowd-pleasers like "Run this Town" and "Public Service Announcement." He also modified a line or two of "99 Problems," attempting to remove any profanities and replace it with a cleaner version. (The result? “I’ve got 99 problems but a Mitt ain’t one.” Still, a couple of curse words in his background vocals slipped through the cracks.)

The president seemed to enjoy his last day of campaigning with the rock stars, inviting the two on stage at the end for a photo op and saying for the second time today, “I'm …flying with Bruce Springsteen on the last day that I'll ever campaign; that's not a bad way to bring it home, with 'The Boss.'"