Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen (born September 23, 1949) is the 43rd and incumbent President of the United States of America, assuming office on June 3rd, 2010 following the resignation of his predecessor, Jay Leno. Prior to his ascendancy to the Presidency, Springsteen served as the Vice President of the United States in the Leno administration from January 20th, 2005 until he was sworn in, and previously served as a US Senator from New Jersey from 1989 to 2005. Nicknamed "Loose Bruce" or "the Boss," Springsteen has a reputation as an easygoing but respected politician and is a notably fiery campaigner. His approval ratings as of April 2012 are at about 41%, suggesting disparity between his reputation as a likable politician and the policies of his administration, and the ongoing Early 2010's recession.
While in the Senate, Springsteen emerged in the 1990's as a reliable champion of the various causes espoused by the increasingly powerful and passionate liberal wing of the center-left Democratic Party. However, as a "blue-collar, East Coast kid," as he called himself, Springsteen noted that fostering the gritty culture of the American laborer in the 1980s was essential to the ability of the Democrats to stay relevant and not lose ground to the increasingly conservative Nationalists. While a critic of the Robert Redford administration, Springsteen supported compromise on several issues despite being a first-term Senator, due to his belief that compromise would please constituents more than ideological shows of force, leading him to utter one of his more well-known catchphrases: "Results make people happier than rhetoric."
Despite being a vocal supporter of many liberal causes, including a national health care system and expanded welfare and pension benefit coverage for the lowest income brackets, Springsteen often clashed with Speaker of the House Charlie Platt, whom he often felt was hijacking the popular liberal movement to forward his own political aspirations and agenda and alienated voters or supporters with his brash, confrontational attitude. Springsteen lobbied hard for establishment Democrats to refuse to reelect Platt as Speaker to no avail. Springsteen, by all accounts, locked horns with Platt as early as 1992, when Platt allegedly attempted to throw support behind Springsteen's Senate primary opponent, Leon Hutz. Springsteen, while publicly muted about his distaste for Platt, had a notoriously antagonistic relationship towards the Speaker throughout the 1990's.
Springsteen leapt onto the national scene when Senate Internal Committee Chairman Paul Rogers (D-IL) assigned him as one of the heads of the Blackthorne-Springsteen Commission, a bipartisan panel of twenty Congressmen from the House and Senate to investigate the John Lipcourt/Gas-for-guns scandal throughout 1991 and into 1992. Springsteen himself was dismayed that the majority of his peers on the panel concluded that there was far less evidence of a wide conspiracy by the government and three oil companies than had originally been suggested by State Department memos. Still, Springsteen stood by the findings of Blackthorne-Springsteen and did not feel that the calls for the impeachment of Vice President Bush by Platt were founded, as Bush had been exonerated of any suspicion more than any peers at DoS or the Pentagon.
Springsteen was a vocal and fiery supporter of John Burwin, often inseparable from the Democratic candidate in 1992 while in his own state of New Jersey. Despite a strong push by the Nationalists to elect their candidate, John Harper, Springsteen won with 79% of the vote and dominated in all but two central New Jersey counties in the Democratic landslide of 1992.
Springsteen was a reliable spokesman for Senate Democrats due to his charm and ability to speak to regular citizens about Democratic policy, and became a media favorite. Springsteen was one of few Democratic allies for Burwin during his damning sex scandal and once again suggested against impeachment by the Nationalist-controlled House of Representatives.
Springsteen once again enjoyed a Democratic landslide year as he was elected to a third term in 1998, despite heavy spending by the National Party to unseat him. He won with a smaller but yet still comfortable margin and was seen, due to his liberal credentials, appeal to the base and "East Coast attitude" as an ideal candidate for the 2000 Democratic Presidential nomination, especially since fellow blue-collar Democrats such as Jay Leno or Paul Pershing were staying out of the race. Springsteen formed an exploratory committee in the fall of 1999, but eventually chose to focus on running for Senate Majority Leader, a position he would serve with great popularity among constituents and Democrats from 2001-2004.
2004 Presidential Campaign
Campaign and Primaries
In September 2003, after having announced in July that he intended to run for President in 2004, Springsteen made the surprise announcement that he would not seek reelection in his Senate seat regardless of whether or not he was nominated. "I'm going to the White House or back to New Jersey," he told an Ohio rally in September of '03. Springsteen was notable, along with James Carrey, as being one of the first candidates to successfully utilize the Internet as a fundraising tool as opposed to just an advertising tool.
Springsteen was considered the dark horse in the crowded Democratic primary field, a field which included party establishment favorites such as Governor Jay Leno of Massachusetts or Senator Charlie Posey of Pacifica, along with strong and popular candidates such as Governor James Carrey of Huron, who was favorably called "the Democratic Dick Van Dyke" due to his youth and appeal, and Senator Kevin Wilson of Oregon, a young and charismatic rising star within the liberal wing of the party. As a result, despite heavy campaigning, Springsteen fell behind Leno and Posey, the two front-runners, and endorsed Leno after announcing he was dropping out of the race. Many believed that Springsteen, who ran far to the left of his opponents, which included social conservatives such as Leno, fiscal centrists such as Posey and the pragmatic Carrey, who ran on his record of compromise in longtime Nationalist bastion Huron and his ability to win in a center-right state even as a Democrat.