Celebrities such as Valerie Harper, Ed Asner, Esai Morales, Diane Ladd and "West Wing" creator Aaron Sorkin were among those training to be Kerry "surrogates" at the home of Daphna Ziman, who co-founded Artists for Kerry with former California first lady Sharon Davis. They listened to Roger Wolfson, former aide to the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), deliver tips on raising money and awareness -- particularly important in nonswing states such as California, where advertising and Kerry campaign appearances are limited, his supporters say.
Harper, who campaigned in four states for Clinton, says the push is more "democratic" this time around. Six hundred house parties, to which Kerry called in, were held nationwide on May 22, including 200 in California. Harper says she has spoken at most of the dozen she's attended.
"I'm renting myself out," said the actress. "I'm not good on the computer and I don't bake, but I did play 'Rhoda' and I can use that. People say, 'Oh , those Hollywood folks,' but we never gave up our citizenship." By choosing not to accept federal money in the primaries and caucuses, Kerry sidestepped spending limits -- raising a record amount in the private domain, National Deputy Political Director Lara Bergthold says. That nest egg gives him a leg up.