Fans of the hit TV series "Glee" had two incentives to attend a Saturday Obama campaign rally at the University of Northern Iowa: Artie and Tina.
Cast members Kevin McHale, who plays Artie Abrams, and Jenna Ushkowitz, who plays Tina Cohen-Chang, stopped by UNI's Sabin Hall to speak in support of President Barack Obama's re-election and pose for pictures with a roomful of fans. The actors held other events Saturday at the University of Iowa in Iowa City and in Des Moines.
"We've been supporters of Obama from the beginning," said Ushkowitz, noting the cast performed on the White House lawn two years ago. She praised Obama's support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, saying that's what the show is "all about."
McHale said Obama has focused on the interests of students, championing college affordability and health care changes allowing them to stay on parents' insurance plans until age 26.
Sophomore Melissa Koepping is an Obama supporter who has already voted, but she's also a "Glee" fan. "That's why I came," she said.
She was accompanied by sophomore Jamie Cisna, who doesn't follow the show. "I'm an Obama fan, so I said, 'OK, I'll come.' I've already voted and everything. I'm really supportive of Obama for education, mostly."
Campaign volunteers encouraged attendees to vote early and sign up to help with phone banks and door knocking in the final days before the Nov. 6 election. "We're really trying to get young adults excited about going to the polls and going out and voting," said UNI sophomore Linh Ta, a campus campaign volunteer.
McHale and Ushkowitz were accompanied by Ian Brennan, "Glee" creator and one of the show's producers. He encouraged students to get involved with the campaign and said those already helping could make a big impact for Obama since Iowa is a battleground state.
"What you guys are doing is so helpful," he said. "It really is your guys' vote that counts, it's a few districts all over the country. You guys are in a place where you could actually tip the scales" toward Obama.
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