When not filming, Maria Bello is rallying for Obama

When not filming, Maria Bello is rallying for Obama
‘HOPE’: Maria Bello backs Sen. Barack Obama. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)
ACTRESS Maria Bello had a few days off from filming on location in Connecticut. She decided she wanted to help Sen. Barack Obama more than she needed to rest.

So on Friday, she joined her onetime school mate John Prendergast, an African affairs expert in President Clinton's State Department and now a foreign policy advisor to the stars, in their hometown of Norristown, Pa.

They immediately went to work on the campaign, and by Sunday, they had canvassed the town: They stumped for the Illinois senator at a coffee shop, the train depot, on street corners and in schools.

Bello, who grew up in the small town six miles northwest of Philadelphia, said it was gratifying to be home volunteering for a presidential candidate she believes in. (Before she became an actress, she studied political science and considered being a lawyer.)

"As the granddaughter of Polish immigrants, I like who Obama is," said Bello, an accomplished actress known for roles in films ("A History of Violence," "The Jane Austen Book Club") and TV ("ER").

"He's the face of America. He opposed the war. He's for universal healthcare, which would greatly help my family. I understand what he's saying when he talks about the reality of raising children in a working-class family. He gives people hope and the feeling of real change."

With Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton rallying all the support they can before polls open today in the Pennsylvania primary, celebrities on the campaign trail have been a welcome sight for both camps.

Ted Danson worked the crowds for Clinton in the Keystone State over the weekend. So did "Ugly Betty's" America Ferrera. It's the sort of impromptu campaigning that both Democratic candidates have relied on across the country. When you throw a celebrity into the mix, it's like grass roots on steroids.

"There's so much energy out there," said Bello, taking a break from filming Rebecca Miller's adaptation of her novel "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee."

After Pennsylvania, many Democrats are hoping the party will finally have its nominee. The question now will be whether that person can kindle the same enthusiasm in the general election as the epic contest between Clinton and Obama has throughout the primaries.

And another question is whether celebrities committed to one candidate will campaign for the other if their side loses.