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Columbia Missourian

Celebrities rally at MU for Barack Obama

By Anna Beth Blevins
October 4, 2008 | 7:59 p.m. CDT
Actress Aisha Tyler hands a voter registration form to a student at the Vote for Change event on Lowry Mall in front of Ellis Library on MU’s campus Oct. 4. Tyler, along with Taye Diggs and his wife, Idina Menzel, spoke to the Columbia crowd in support of Barack Obama and to promote voter registration among college students.

COLUMBIA — Three Hollywood stars were at MU on Saturday afternoon, hobnobbing with Columbia residents in an effort to draw support for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign.

Actors Aisha Tyler, Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel came out to rally Obama supporters to volunteer with the campaign and get others registered.

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Tyler has been on TV shows such as "CSI" and "Ghost Whisperer." Diggs, who was in the original Broadway cast of "Rent," is currently on ABC's "Private Practice," and his wife, Menzel, has been in the Broadway musicals "Rent" and "Wicked."

Even though the actors didn't appear until 25 minutes after the rally was supposed to begin at 4:30 p.m., Lowry Mall had filled with spectators by 4:15 p.m.

Tyler, the first to speak, shared her background and implored the crowd to vote. "It's not enough to be right. You have to get out there and exercise your rights," she said.

Tyler also said that voting and volunteering are not simple tasks. "With great opportunity comes great responsibility," she said.

Diggs was next to speak. "Now is our time to make a real difference. We can change the course of history by making history," he said.

Menzel cited the economic crisis as a moving time for her and said it is important to debate and discuss politics. "I compel you to be involved," she said.

The last day to register to vote is Oct. 8.