Bruce Springsteen is set to team up with President Bill Clinton to campaign for President Barack Obama in Parma, Ohio, on Thursday.
Even as October Springsteen appearances have become something of a Democratic tradition since 2004, this was not exactly an expected development. Back in February, Springsteen had expressed a reluctance to campaign and disappointment with some of Obama's economic policies.
Up until this announcement, Springsteen had been largely quiet about the election. He rarely, if ever, mentioned Obama in recent appearances on his current world tour.
The pairing with Clinton is further evidence that wounds from the 2008 primary have healed. Then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was forced to cease playing "The Rising" at campaign stops because Springsteen endorsed Obama during one of the most heated moments of that campaign — the lead-up to the Pennsylvania primary.
In the past, Springsteen campaign appearances are as much about organizational strategy as they are about boosting excitement. As Springsteen plays, campaign workers use the opportunity to campaign, register voters and to collect contact information. However, Ohio's voter registration deadline has passed.
It is not clear whether Springsteen will perform in Parma, but in 2004 and 2008, his campaign performances differed greatly from his normal concerts with the E Street Band. On the trail, he plays an acoustic, aspirational setlist of songs such as "The Promised Land" and "The Rising."
The Obama campaign has adopted Springsteen's new single "We Take Care of Our Own" as something of a campaign theme song this year. Springsteen saw his sales for the song jump immediately after it cued up after Obama completed his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.
Almost exactly four years ago, then-Sen. Obama famously declared, "The reason I am running for president is because I can't be Bruce Springsteen."
UPDATE: Oct. 13, 1:50 P.M.
The Des Moines Register is reporting that Springsteen will appear for the Obama campaign Thursday in Ames, Iowa.