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Barack Obama stretches the definition of political op

May 8, 2008 |  2:16 pm

Ever since he claimed his strong win Tuesday night in the North Carolina primary (and ceded the nail-biting race in Indiana to Hillary Clinton before most prognosticators), Barack Obama has clearly signaled that he's ready to move on with a general election campaign.

Pop singer Usher not only supports Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination he will be part of voter registration drives by Obama's campaign  As part of that, his campaign today announced 14 co-chairs of "Vote for Change," its label for a nationwide voter registration drive. All pretty predictable and routine ... until the list is perused.

Who knew, for instance, that Usher (left) -- the R&B singer and record-label owner, identified in the Obama release by his full name, Usher Raymond IV -- had an interest in the nitty-gritty of political organizing?

Same with band leader Dave Matthews and knockout actress Kerry Washington?

All three will be, according to the campaign, among those who "will oversee the program’s efforts and act as surrogates to boost participation across the country."

The first quote about the effort, in fact, comes from singer Singer Melissa Etheridge not only supports Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination she will be part of voter registration drives by Obama's campaign Melissa Etheridge (right), who says, “Barack Obama started his career as a community organizer in Chicago, working with communities devastated by plant closings, and after law school he returned to those neighborhoods to register new voters. From the beginning of his career, he’s made change happen by enfranchising people at the grassroots, and that’s what Vote for Change is all about.”

That may well be, but we can't wait to see her, Usher, Matthews and Washington toting regsitration sign-up sheets at shopping centers.

The other co-chairs are more traditional; they include Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Reps. John Barrow of Georgia, Melissa Bean of Illinois and Linda Sanchez of Long Beach (who created a buzz when, on the same day, she endorsed Obama while her sister, Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Santa Ana, announced for Clinton) and Maria Elena Durazo of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

-- Don Frederick

Photo credits: Getty Images (Usher); Lifetime (Etheridge)

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