Rock star Bruce Springsteen said on Thursday he still supported US President Barack Obama but indicated he would not be taking part in the campaign to get him re-elected.
At a press conference in Paris to promote a new album and tour, Springsteen was asked whether this year he would join the campaign trail to back Obama, as he did in 2008 and also in 2004 for Democratic challenger John Kerry.
“I got into that sort of by accident. The Bush years were so horrific that you couldn’t just sit around,” Springsteen declared.
“I never campaigned for politicians previous to John Kerry and at that moment it was such a blatant disaster occurring at the top of government, you felt that if you had any cachet whatsoever, you had to cash it in because you couldn’t sit around and watch it.”
But, he added, “I’m not a professional campaigner and every four years I don’t think that I’m going to go and pick a guy and go after him.
“I prefer to stay on the sidelines. I genuinely believe an artist (is) supposed to be the canary in the coalmine, and you’re better off with a certain distance from the seat of power.”
Springsteen said he thought Obama had a mixed record.
“There’s a lot of things” that were positive, he said.
“He kept GM alive, which was incredibly important to Detroit and Michigan, and he got the healthcare law passed, although I wish there had been a public option and didn’t leave the citizens victims of the insurance companies, he killed Osama bin Laden, which was extremely important. He brought some sanity to the top level of government.”
However, Obama was “more friendly to corporations than I thought he would be, (and) there’s not as many middle-class or working-class voices heard in the administration as I thought there would be,” said Springsteen.
“I would like to have seen more activism in job creation sooner than it came, I would like to have seen people helped out, seen some of these (home) foreclosures stopped somehow.”
Springsteen said: “I still support the president, but there are plenty of things that I thought took a long time and would have been closed by now. But on the other hand, we’re out of Iraq and hopefully we’ll be out of Afghanistan soon.”
The new album “Wrecking Ball” goes on sale on March 6, followed by a US and European tour beginning on March 18 in Atlanta, Georgia. It is Springsteen’s 17th studio album.