Three midwestern Democrats in tough reelection battles got a spotlight and more cash in their campaign coffers when actor Richard Dreyfuss recently made a campaign swing into Michigan and Illinois.
"Celebrity campaigning is fairly common in campaigns these days. It's very helpful," said Willie Blacklow, press secretary to Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.). Blacklow said Dreyfuss, who went bowling with Levin and attended two private fund-raisers, "attracted media and he attracted dollars."
Dreyfuss also campaigned for Rep. Howard Wolpe (D-Mich.) and Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.), who along with Levin have been targeted by the GOP. What does he think he accomplished? "I pulled some focus and raised some good money," Dreyfuss said, echoing Blacklow's assessment.
Dreyfuss said in an interview that his message to voters, in his first stint at campaigning, was to elect Democrats. "The Democratic Party is more responsive," he said. "I can't wait for the rest of the country to catch up to the idea that the Republican Party for the last eight years has been treating rich people very well, while whole segments of the society have been left in a lurch."
Rep. Bill Schuette (R-Mich.), who is challenging Levin, was not impressed with Dreyfuss's performance. "This fits into Carl Levin's liberal, Hollywood jet-set values," Schuette said. "It sure won't fly in Michigan." And what's more, he added, "I won't rent any more videos of 'The Goodbye Girl.' "