Springsteen: ‘That first debate really freaked me out’

Bruce Springsteen shares a moment with President Barack Obama during a campaign stop in Madison, Wis., on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. (Nikki Kahn -- The Washington Post)

Obama appeared at his first rally on a cold morning in Madison, Wis., down the street from the state capitol building, where a crowd of 18,000 had gathered at 6:30 a.m. -- four hours before the president arrived. Rocker Bruce Springsteen, who will appear at all three of Obama's rallies Monday, warmed up the supporters with several of his hit songs, appearing on stage with a guitar.

Springsteen told the crowd that having campaigned with Obama in 2008 and this year the president "got the ideas we're buddies." Obama is so chummy that he calls Springsteen in the middle of the night and breaks into songs such as Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," the singer joked.

"One of the reasons I want him to be in the White House the next four years is that I don’t want the competition," Springsteen said with a laugh before encouraging the crowd to vote. 

Springsteen also performed the song he wrote for President Obama and first performed in Ohio last month, "Forward and Away We Go" -- with a new debate-related verse. 

"Actually, that first debate really freaked me out,”  Springsteen admitted. Then he sang: "But then Romney got schooled twice by Obama / Then smiling Joe Biden brought the drama / Fox News said he was smoking Marijuana. Forward and away we go!”

Taking the stage after Springsteen, Obama called the singer "an American treasure." 

Springsteen later joined Obama in his motorcade to the airport, where the rocker was to fly aboard Air Force One to Columbus for the president's second rally.

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