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Hollywood A-listers come out to back Obama

WHILE Clint Eastwood is firmly in the Republican camp, Hollywood's younger generation are throwing their weight behind Team Obama.

Scarlett Johansson and Eva Longoria gave emotional speeches as Barack Obama was named the Democratic nominee for the US election in November at the party's national convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

They said they supported Obama not just as stars, but as women who came from backgrounds where they saw the impact of government programmes first hand.

"I speak to you not as a representative of young Hollywood, but as a representative of the many millions of young Americans, particularly young women, who depend on public and non-profit programmes to help them survive," Johansson said, recalling accompanying her mother to the voting booth as a child.

"This last election, I finally got to punch those buttons for me, for real. I wore my 'I voted' pin the whole day. It was my finest accessory."

Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria also reflected on her past as she attacked Republican tax plans.

Republican candidate Mitt Romney "would raise taxes on middle-class families to cut his own, and mine," she said. "The Eva Longoria who worked at Wendy's flipping burgers -- she needed a tax break. But the Eva Longoria who works on movie sets does not."



change

And star names also provided the music, with James Taylor, Foo Fighters and Mary J Blige performing.

Barack Obama urged wavering supporters not to give up on their dreams of change, or on him, as he accepted the Democratic party's nomination for president in what promises to be a tough race.

Mr Obama tried to revive the excitement that powered his first run for the presidency.

He needs to win over undecided voters, especially those who had been swayed by his inspiring message of hope and change in 2008, but now feel disillusioned after years of economic weakness and political bickering.

"The election four years ago wasn't about me. It was about you," he said. "My fellow citizens, you were the change."

He said the American people were responsible for accomplishments on his watch, such as overhauling health care, changing immigration policies and ending the ban on homosexuals serving in the military.

If they turned away now, he warned, "you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn't possible. "Change," he said, "will not happen".

Mr Obama built on the message Democrats delivered throughout the convention: America is on the road to recovery and Mr Romney would revive failed policies, cutting taxes for the rich and slashing programmes that give regular Americans a chance for a more prosperous future.

"If you reject the notion that this nation's promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election," he said.

Republicans, who nominated Mr Romney last week, argue that America's 8.3pc unemployment rate is proof that Mr Obama's policies have failed and that the president's spendthrift, big-government policies have hurt businesses and caused the national deficit to soar.



likeable

The two candidates are locked in a tight race. Polls show that Mr Romney, a wealthy businessman and former governor of Massachusetts, is seen as the better candidate for improving the economy, while Mr Obama is viewed as more likeable and having a better understanding of everyday Americans.

Mr Obama's speech marked the climax of the three-day convention. First lady Michelle Obama talked about her husband's humble roots and compassion on the first day, while former president Bill Clinton gave a rousing speech vouching for Mr Obama's economic policies.

ANALYSIS, PAGE 16


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