There were several Democratic dignitaries in the house Monday night at the Dubuque Five Flags Center, a local hockey rink here: Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.) and Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), a man who could be the next vice president of the United States.
But the shrieks were far louder upon the announcement of an unexpected guest: Ashton Kutcher, an actor whose credits include TV's "That '70s Show" and the movie, "Dude, Where's My Car?" Kutcher may be best known these days as the guy on MTV who "punks" his unsuspecting Hollywood friends.
He told the crowd that he, too, had been "punk'd" -- by President Bush, for whom he voted in 2000.
"I thought he was a good ol' boy," Kutcher said. But "unlike Bush, I know how to admit when I was wrong."
Kutcher, who grew up in Iowa in a family of humble means, said he could identify with many in the crowd of 400 whose interest he said Bush has betrayed.
"We didn't have a lot of money," he said. "We didn't have a lot of anything. . . . I know about thrashing corn for $4.65 an hour."
Kutcher, of course, makes quite a bit a bit more money now -- which means he won't be voting his pocketbook next week.
"I'm here to urge you to vote . . . for someone who's going to lower most of your taxes and going to raise mine significantly," he said.
Kutcher endorsed Edwards during the Democratic primaries but promised joint appearances on the campaign trail never materialized. That didn't stop Edwards from referring to Kutcher as "my friend" when he later took the stage.
During his remarks, made with the benefit of only a few notes, Kutcher said he thought the case for the Kerry-Edwards ticket is quite clear.
"I'm not a politician," he said, "but I'm not an idiot either. I just play one on TV."