Actor Kal Penn Joins Birthday Rally for Obama in Royal Oak

The meetup at Fifth Avenue was part of President Barack Obama's birthday celebration and a day of campaigning across the Detroit area.

Actor Kal Penn, who starred in the Harold and Kumar movies and the TV show House, appeared at a rally in Royal Oak on Saturday to celebrate President Barack Obama's 51st birthday—and stump for the youth vote.

Penn appeared at several Obama campaign—and birthday—events in the metro Detroit area, including a final stop at  in Royal Oak to cap the day off. There were 50-plus events throughout Michigan on Saturday.

"Michigan has always been a big battleground state and one that's always been very special to the President," Penn said at the Royal Oak event. 

Penn, who formerly held the position of Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement, says youth outreach is his primary target. He is a big believer in the website gottavote.org which simplifies voting by explaining registration and voting rights, and he is also an advocate of drawing interest through social media.

"Most people seem to donate an hour a week, and by the second week, my experience has been that they've made a whole bunch of friends and the next thing you know, they're at three hours a week and it's more like hanging out with their new friends rather than feeling like work," Penn said.

Many of the supporters at the event each had their own unique story and reason on the ways Obama as President has touched their lives.

"I've never felt so strongly about an elected official before and their vision for the country," said Amy Lynn Smith, neighborhood team leader in Birmingham. "I remember how he said after he was elected that he was going to work as hard as he could every single day for the American people; he has made a lot of progress and I want to give him the chance to continue that progress."

Matt McGrath, Michigan press secretary for campaign, says the 2012 movement has evolved from that of four years ago, but the fundamentals still remain the same.

"It's always about voter contact, talking to your neighbors, organizing," said McGrath. "It's about block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, town by town, city by city; we did that in 2008 and we're doing it now."


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