Yahoo’s news section has an article about the latest celebrity endorsements of Sen. Barack Obama, accompanied by two video clips. In one of these, paid for by the Obama campaign, actor Ed O’Neill, none too ably channeling his Al Bundy persona from the Married….With Children series, leans over a incongruous state-of-the-art laptop (an ancient desktop with Windows 95 and dialup would have been the right touch for his character) and figures out that he would do better under Obama’s tax plan than under Sen. John McCain’s.
The other clip, however (which also appears at funnyordie.com) may have a more substantial effect – depending on whether voters focus on its strengths or its flaws. In it, Ron Howard, director of Frost/Nixon, announces that he’s voting for Obama. He then puts on an adult-size version of his familiar T-shirt from almost a half-century ago, slaps on a toupee that makes him look like Elton John in the early days of the latter’s experiments with hair transplants, picks up some fish, and walks out of his trailer. Cut to a black-and-white scene in a forest (rather than by a lake, as the fish would suggest) and none other than Andy Griffith materializes to tell “Opie” that if he stays healthy and listens to his paw, he can grow up to vote for somebody like Mr. Obama. The very fact that an embodiment of mainstream rural America like Griffith is choosing Obama may have an impact in states such as his native North Carolina, Indiana and Virginia. Had Howard stopped there, the Obama camp might have had a strong piece of viral-video ammo.
But then Ron changes hairpieces to one very remotely approximating his Richie Cunningham hairdo and the scene cuts abruptly to him chatting with Henry Winkler, replete with leather jacket and graying pompadour. The Fonz owns up to having been “wahhh, rruuhhh” about Bush-Cheney (“Wrong, Fonz?” “Yeah, that word”) and tells his friend that after they vote they’ll go on a double date with a girl and her friend from Alaska, which provides an opening for a more or less tasteless joke. Cut to Howard, minus rug, urging voters to express their “hearts and minds,” in a burst of the usual Tinseltown-liberal rhetoric, leaving young Obama supporters to figure out just where to stop the clip when they’re playing it for the grandparents.
Speaking of older voters, the article also notes comedienne Sarah Silverman’s call to young Jewish voters to travel to Florida to enlist seniors in Obama’s cause. And it also mentions one endorsement the Obama campaign deflected – actress/singer Lindsay Lohan’s offer to emcee rallies.