Kerry calls in the Hollywood A-list to challenge Bush

LONDON – Democrat John Kerry's US presidential campaign intensified last night when 10 anti-Bush ads, starring celebrities such as Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, were unveiled in New York.

The "10 Weeks: Don't Get mad Get Even" campaign, by political action group MoveOn.org, is expected to boost support and revenue for Kerry in advance of the November poll.

West Coast celebrity support has bolstered the Democrat's campaign by $28m ($16m) so far. In contrast, only $2.8m was raised in 2000 when Al Gore challenged Bush in the race for the White House.

Doug Liman, the director of 'The Bourne Identity' and 'Swingers', has teamed up with Damon for one commercial. The actor is currently starring in smash hit sequel 'The Bourne Supremacy'.

Rob Reiner, the veteran director of 'When Harry Met Sally' and 'The American President', has used a 30-second clip of a tongue-tied Bush as part of his ad.

Another spot has been produced by Martin Sheen, who plays Democrat president Jed Bartlett in 'The West Wing', while director John Sayles is behind another.

Other Hollywood A-listers are devoting time and money to the Kerry campaign by attending the New York launch of the commercials and taking part in the Vote for Change tour, also organised by MoveOn.org.

REM, the Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam, Bright Eyes and Bruce Springsteen have been lined up to play the week-long tour music event.

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