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Jay-Z, Bruce Springsteen, The Marshall Tucker Band help close Obama, Romney campaigns in Columbus

Andrew Holleran / Photo editor

“614, I got you.”

Rapper Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z, stood in front of a 15,500-person crowd at President Barack Obama’s final rally leading up to the Nov. 6 presidential election at Nationwide Arena Monday afternoon, smiling at cheering fans.

“Are we ready to move forward, Ohio?”

Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, told the crowd that Obama had given him a phone call before this final Ohio stop and told him he was needed in Ohio.

To the backdrop of an American flag, Jay-Z performed “Encore,” “On to the Next One” and a special rendition of his famous “99 Problems.”

“I got 99 problems but Mitt ain’t one,” the rapper told the crowd, referring to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Not to be outdone, Romney enlisted the help of a southern rock ensemble to help him close out his campaign during his “victory rally” at Landmark Aviation later Monday evening.

Jay-Z started his set by telling the crowd he brought a lot of songs with him, but the campaign had told him to tone down his radio-censored lyrics.

“They said no colorful language, so I brought two songs,” he told the laughing crowd.

The noisy crowd was standing, dancing and singing along with the rapper during the roughly 20 minutes he was on stage. The noise level was a 180-switch from the attentive and quiet group that sat during Bruce Springsteen’s performance.

Springsteen, who took the stage first, kicking off the rally, said it was important to re-elect Obama because he suspected the president had musical aspirations.

“Gotta keep your competition away,” he joked to the crowd.

Springsteen told the audience Obama had been known to call him in the middle of the night singing his songs.

He opened his set reminding the crowd that “this is the day before the day we’ve been waiting for.”

Springsteen wrote a song for the president using his campaign slogan “Forward,” and sang it for the crowd. He told the audience he was proud to stand by Obama, just as he had done four years ago when he was elected president, but he admitted his song could have been better.

“Not the best I’ve ever written,” he said. “Not many things rhyme with Obama.”

Springsteen said he was confident that voters would get to the polls and re-elect Obama Tuesday, particularly voters in Ohio.

“The election is sealed,” he said.

The country rockers of The Marshall Tucker Band aided Romney in his final push for the presidency.

The band played to a crowd that filled most of the hangar in which it played, opening with its 1970s hit, “Can’t You See?”

Lead singer Doug Gray spoke of his time as a small-business man and appealed for attendees at the Romney rally to vote for the Romney-Ryan ticket.

“We’re all here for the same reason,” Gray said. “Can you do one thing for me? Can we make a change (Tuesday)?”

Patrick Brennan contributed to this story.


This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: November 6, 2012

An earlier version of this story stated that Toy Caldwell of The Marshall Tucker Band spoke to the crowd at Romney’s rally. In fact, lead singer Doug Gray spoke to the crowd. Caldwell died in 1993.


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