MILWAUKEE — “Why am I here, Katy Perry or Obama?” 14-year-old Bailey Owens of South Milwaukee asked herself. “I think it’s actually cool to be here and actually hear from the President words, but Katy Perry, she’s pretty cool too. So it’s kind of like a plus to be able to hear from the President, be able to support him, but then also have the show.”
Owens waited in line for about two hours outside of the Delta Center in downtown Milwaukee on a brisk Saturday morning.
“I was shocked at first, the line didn’t seem very long,” Owens said looking across the street at the growing line. “But now, if you look around, there are so many people. It’s pretty exhilarating.”
Kanjana Casetta of Fond du Lac brought her daughter to President Barack Obama’s campaign rally specifically for her young daughter.
“She loves Katy Perry and she begged and begged and begged us,” Casetta said with her bundled up daughter next to her.
But Lisa Litzsey from Milwaukee, was here for the President of the United States, not the pop start.
“Katy Perry doesn’t have anything to do with it,” Litzsey said. “That’s just sort of an extra added entertainment factor. But that certainly isn’t a deciding factor as to why we came today.”
Many, like Joe Mangelsdorf of Burlington, realize Perry is not the headliner, but she does have a role that is appreciated
“I think it’s great. It gets some younger voters out. It’s a good thing, we need these days,” Mangelsdorf said alongside his wife and nephew.
UWM Political Science Professor, Mordecai Lee believes that is the exact reason Perry joined the campaign rally.
“They’re trying to say, be sure you vote. And if we can help you vote, we’re going to do it,” Lee said Friday. “The star power brings out people. And what do they do with these rallies? They recruit volunteers.”
For Crystal Thompson, having Perry at the rally is great for her daughters and also something that she’s interested in. But she wants something more.
“I hope it’s just more than the celebrity endorsement, that they actually realize there are important issues out there,” Thompson said.
Perry did sing some of her biggest hits, including “Firework”. But she also talked about serious issues, like Hurricane Sandy, asking the audience to text to 90999 which would automatically donate $10 to the Red Cross.
She also did what the campaign really brought her in for, urged everyone to vote. In an anecdote involving her 91-year-old grandmother at another Obama campaign rally she was a part of in Las Vegas, she said that, even at 91 and not moving around well, she was able to get out and vote, so the audience shouldn’t have an excuse not to vote.