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Where Is The Love? Obama Campaign Sees Drop In Celeb Support

By Candice Leigh Helfand
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President Barack Obama stands before a supportive crowd in Miami, Fla. But where is the celebrity support he received during his first bid for the Oval Office? (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama stands before a supportive crowd in Miami, Fla. But where is the celebrity support he received during his first bid for the Oval Office? (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON, D.C.(CBSDC) — Is Hollywood steering clear of Obama?

This time four years ago, then Sen. Barack Obama was being backed on the campaign trail by such top celebrities as Robert DeNiro, Chris Rock, Oprah Winfrey and Usher. But now, the president is simply not seeing the love from Hollywood A-listers he once did.

His stock in the celebrity world seems to be dwindling, which could potentially result in lost votes not only from those in the entertainment industry, but within their respective fan bases as well.

The big question is – will this affect his chances of securing a second term?

“Absolutely not,” said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

“They’ll come around. It’s inevitable,” he told CBSDC. “He will get all the support he needs, and all the money he needs from Hollywood, because there’s no alternative – they’re not going to go for any of these Republicans.”

Contrary to Sabato’s words, however, some celebrities have gone so far as to publicly decry Obama’s job performance.

Matt Damon, an adamant supporter of Obama in 2008, has been rather vocal about his frustration with the president and what he perceives as Obama’s inabilities to both cure what ails the nation and galvanize a political base.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people who worked for Obama at the grassroots level,” he said when speaking with ELLE magazine. “One of them said to me, ‘Never again. I will never be fooled again by a politician.’”

He later added, “You know, a one-term president with some [guts] who actually got stuff done would have been, in the long run of the country, much better.”

Additionally, those who previously campaigned on his behalf, hosting fundraisers and speaking publicly about the importance of voting for Obama, have been relatively silent this time around.

In the 2008 campaign, media mogul Oprah Winfrey hosted fundraisers and spoke passionately about the nation’s need for Obama’s leadership.

She has not come out to say otherwise in 2012, and has submitted her public endorsement of his re-election campaign, but she has not said much else in regards to Obama’s candidacy.

Some of the issues holding Hollywood back from supporting him include the long-suffering economics of America and his refusal to fully support the institution of gay marriage.

Not everyone has turned away from Obama, however – big names such as musician will.i.am continue to rally on behalf of the president, expressing frustration with their less-than-patient cohorts in the process.

When talking with CBS News earlier this month, the Black Eyed Peas front man said that Obama is not “magic,” and that the nation cannot expect him to turn things around with “some freakin’ [sic] plan.”

“We can sit and point fingers and say Obama’s not doing his job, but you’re supposed to do your job,” he added.

He is not alone in his opinion.

“President Obama was given a job that could not be done in the time frame that has passed,” said Keisha Knight-Pulliam during a panel discussion regarding Black Hollywood’s perception of Obama on Roland Martin Reports. “He needs extra time. Not because he hasn’t done his job thus far, but because the problems that he inherited were so great.”

Other celebrities have put their money where their mouths are to help Obama, including Sharon Stone, Michael Keaton, George Clooney and Steven Spielberg.

Still, the fervent outpouring of admiration and support falls incredibly short of what Obama received in 2008. Sabato attributes the drop in enthusiasm to the trendy nature of Hollywood sentiment.

“Obama was the place to be, and the thing to be for. All the cool kids were doing it,” he reasoned. “Obama’s old hat to Hollywood. They flip from topic to topic and political point to political point very quickly.”

Sabato added that four long years of reality and a mixed track record could have also caused his seeming fall from favor among the famous.

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