According to a Democratic source, mogul Russell Simmons, labeled by music channel VH1 as “the most important businessman in the history of rap music,” will host President Barack Obama’s rally in Bridgeport on Saturday.
The politically active Simmons famously took some time to decide to publicly endorse candidate-Obama in 2008.
This will be President Obama’s third appearance in Connecticut over the past year, and his second since late September.
The President visited the state in October, 2009 to stump for the embattled U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, who ultimately decided to retire earlier this year after a 30-year career.
Obama was in Stamford in late September as the guest at a pricey fundraiser for the Democrat hoping to succeed Dodd – state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal – who is facing tough, self-financed Republican opponent Linda McMahon.
Saturday’s rally is for the entire Democratic ticket, but is also intended to boost freshman U.S. Rep. Jim Himes’ prospects for re-election Tuesday to represent Fairfield County. Himes is battling former Republican state Sen. Dan Debicella and his 2008 victory has been credited by some to turn-out in Bridgeport, which was attributed to Obama’s popularity.
The free Obama rally begins at 2 p.m. at The Arena at Harbor Yard.
This is a busy weekend for Harbor Yard. On Tuesday night the venue hosts World Wrestling Entertainment’s Smackdown.
McMahon is the former CEO of WWE. Democrats allege her husband Vince, the company’s chairman, purposefully scheduled Smackdown for Election Night to boost support for Linda and cause hassles for voters trying to head to the polls in the heavily-Democratic Bridgeport. WWE has denied the charge.
I can’t end this blog post without noting Simmons teamed with WWE’s voter outreach initiative a few years back.
Blumenthal and his supporters have been highly critical of how the McMahons have run WWE and of the sexual and violent content of some of the company’s programming.
The McMahons have countered it is hypocritical for Democrats to bash WWE when so many, Obama included, have used the company as a platform to reach out to young voters.
UPDATE: It didn’t take long for someone in the comments section below to question why Democrats are condemning WWE as degrading to women yet embracing a rap/hip hop artist.
I suspected that criticism would be raised once news of Simmons’ visit broke.