D-List Presidential Endorsements

When Oprah Winfrey stumped for Barack Obama earlier this month, political wonks and book clubbers alike began speculating about the "Oprah effect." What kind of bounce, they wondered, could Obama expect from the Queen of Talk's endorsement? Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, meanwhile, was said to benefit from the backing of tough-guy actor Chuck Norris. Backing from high-profile celebs can help a candidate; at the very least they inspire fans to take a second look at the chosen politician. But a public endorsement from an adult-film star is a whole other kettle of fish. Check out some of the wacky D-lister endorsements of 2008 so far:

Hillary Clinton 

Marla Maples, former Mrs. Donald Trump, TV host
In addition to donating $2,000 to Clinton's campaign, the one-time Miss Hawaiian Tropic and, perhaps more memorably, former Mrs. Donald Trump, has urged others to jump on the Hillary bandwagon. In a mass e-mail to friends, Maples called Hillary "very clear, very focused, and I feel we will at last have a voice and be received with a welcoming and open ear."

Jenna Jameson, porn star
The adult-film actress and best-selling author of "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star" reminisced wistfully in a May interview about Bill Clinton's White House years: "The Clinton administration was the best years for the adult industry, and I wish that Clinton would run again." Mr. Clinton may be term-limited, but Jameson is equally happy to support his wife.

Jerry Springer, talk show host
In the 2004 presidential elections the King of Sleaze TV supported fellow former Ohio mayor Dennis Kucinich (Springer served two terms as mayor of Cincinnati, while Kucinich spent two years as mayor of Cleveland). This time around Springer is backing Clinton. In March he made the maximum $4,600 donation to her campaign and told the Chicago Sun-Times in early November that "she is smart. I don't just mean clever. I mean smart."

John Edwards

Harry Belafonte, singer/performer

While campaigns typically tout celebrity endorsements, Edwards was not overeager to publicize that of Harry Belafonte (who admittedly isn't exactly D-list; Belafonte won several Grammys and an Emmy). Instead of sending out a media advisory, the Edwards camp quietly posted an item on its campaign blog. Perhaps Edwards wanted to distance himself from Belafonte (known for singing the "Banana Boat Song"), who in January 2006 called President Bush "the greatest terrorist in the world."

James Denton, actor
The hunky "Desperate Housewives" star didn't pick his candidate on primary platforms alone. A native of Tennessee, Denton says Edwards is the only candidate who can win over Southern good ol' boys like himself. "We're all rednecks," Denton said after November's Democratic debate in Las Vegas. "Nobody I know would vote for anybody but Edwards."

Rudy Giuliani 

Ben Stein, comedian, political pundit
Remember the Comedy Central game show "Win Ben Stein's Money"? The show may have gone off the air in 2003, but four years later Rudy Giuliani is cashing in. In February the lawyer-turned-actor-turned-political-commentator donated $750 to Giuliani's campaign and has praised him for being "the most electable" candidate.

John O'Hurley, actor
Though best know for his "Seinfeld" role as Elaine Benes's neurotic boss J. Peterman, O'Hurley recently waltzed back into the public eye with a stint on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." O'Hurley made the maximum $4,600 donation to Giuliani's campaign in March.

Mike Huckabee 

Ted Nugent, musician
Rocker Ted Nugent took his enthusiasm for the candidate to the next level, brandishing two machine guns at an August concert and spewing expletives against Huckabee's would-be Democratic rivals. Nugent advised Barack Obama to "suck on my machine gun" and suggested that Hillary Clinton "might want to ride one of these into the sunset" before calling her a "worthless" … well, let's just say it rhymes with witch.

Ric Flair, pro wrestler
Former 16-time world heavyweight champion Flair (a.k.a. the Nature Boy) tailgated with Huckabee at a University of South Carolina-Clemson football game in late November. Best known for his signature "Whoooo!" battle cry, Flair says Huckabee's "authentic conservative qualifications and level of executive leadership experience are unmatched by his opponents." And, oh yeah, adds Flair: "Mike Huckabee is the man. Whoooooooo!"

Dennis Kucinich

Larry Flynt, Hustler publisher

In November Flynt helped host a $500-a-head Kucinich cocktail fund-raiser in Los Angeles. While Kucinich may not have been the porn mogul's first choice—in 2005, Hillary Clinton declined a $1,000 Senate campaign contribution from Flynt—he is rallying behind the candidate now. "I believe he offers an essential, viable and exciting option," Flynt has said.

Barack Obama

Gene Wilder, comedian, producer
The original Willy Wonka donated $2,300 to Obama's campaign in March, and based on FEC reports, Obama is the only individual candidate Wilder has ever backed financially. Will Wilder's first foray into presidential politics mean success for Obama? As Wonka himself once said, "The suspense is terrible … I hope it will last."

Mitt Romney

Donny and Marie Osmond
While neither Donny nor Marie has donated to the Romney campaign, the Osmonds had nothing but nice things to say about their fellow Mormon on a November edition of "Larry King Live." Donny, whose newest album, "Love Songs of the '70s," peaked at no. 27 on the Billboard charts in May, told King that Romney's candidacy has been "absolutely wonderful for the Mormon Church." Marie, who is courting a career comeback after her stint on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," is also a Romney fan. But, truth be told, Osmond says her ideal candidate isn't even running: "We want a woman president. You know we have a guy running who is a Mormon. And we want an African-American president. So I say let's vote for [Mormon singer] Gladys Knight. She encompasses all of it."

Ann Coulter, talking head
The best-selling author of "How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)" and "If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans" is a Romney fan. What attracts the conservative talking head to the former Massachusetts governor? Well, it has something to do with those pesky Democrats: "[Romney] tricked liberals [in Massachusetts] into voting for him. I like a guy who hoodwinks liberals so easily."

Fred Thompson

Pat Sajak, "Wheel of Fortune" host

In an essay for conservative Web site HumanEvents.com, Sajak wrote in November that "if any group of citizens is uniquely unqualified to tell someone else how to vote, it's those of us who live in the sheltered, privileged arena of celebrityhood." Sajak may not put much stock in the rest of Hollywood's political judgment, but he apparently trusts his own: he endorsed fellow Tinseltown resident Fred Thompson on the "Sajak Says" section of his personal Web site. Why Thompson? Sajak admired Thompson's decision to announce his candidacy on Jay Leno, rather than through The New York Times.