John Edwards rallies on campus

Edwards, joined by several celebrities, campaigned at the Sports Pavilion.

Kari Petrie

Hollywood celebrity Ashton Kutcher said he voted for President George W. Bush in 2000 because he thought the president was a “good old boy.”

Now, in 2004, the star of “That ’70s Show” and MTV’s “Punk’d,” said he supports Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry.

“There’s one fundamental difference between me and President Bush,” Kutcher said. “I know I was wrong.”

Kutcher, a 26-year-old Iowa native, appeared with Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards, Chris and Andre Heinz, Max Weinberg and Jeff Tweedy of the band Wilco on Tuesday at the Sports Pavilion. Approximately 3,500 people attended, campaign spokeswoman Stacie Paxton said.

Kutcher said the situation in Iraq is getting worse and it’s becoming more obvious the United States needs to look toward other nations for support.

“I’m not a politician, but I’m not an idiot, either – I just play one on TV,” he said.

Tweedy said the event was the first political rally he ever attended. But he said the “disheartening” times made him want to become more active.

“If we can get out and vote, there’s no way we can lose,” he said.

Although some critics question whether musicians should get involved in politics, Tweedy said after the rally that it’s his right to say what he believes.

“I can’t sit on the sidelines anymore,” he said.

Tony Richter, vice president of the College Republicans, said he thinks it’s OK for artists to express their opinions.

“I just sure hope that voters and citizens don’t get their direction of civic duty by turning on ‘That ’70s Show,’ ” he said.

Richter said using celebrities shows the Democrats are out of fresh ideas.

“So they have to use name recognition,” he said.

Once Edwards took the stage, he offered ideas on how to ease college costs. He said he and Kerry would financially help states that keep college tuition low.

Edwards mentioned a plan to give a $4,000 tax credit to students and parents. If elected, the senators also would provide four years of paid in-state college tuition in exchange for two years of volunteer service, Edwards said.

Richter said the service plan is an example of Democrats trying to increase the scope of government again. He said it would be hard to administer the program and ensure students were doing the work.

The tax credit plan also is flawed, because it causes higher taxes for working people, he said.

“Going to college is a sacrifice,” he said. “But the sacrifice is worth it.”

Laura Duhachek, a first-year architecture student, said she is undecided on whom to vote for.

But she said she liked Edwards’ plans to provide health care for everyone and support stem cell research.

“I heard some positive things that might sway me towards (Kerry),” she said.

Jessica Lattimer, a first-year aerospace engineering and astrophysics student, said she came to the rally to see Edwards speak. She said she didn’t know Kutcher was there until she showed up.

“It’s cool to see a young person you know and respect up there,” she said.