CINCINNATI -- As the Obama and Romney campaigns traded increasingly vicious attacks, there were moments of levity and even celebrity at President Obama's one-stop visit to Ohio on Monday.
Before taking the stage of the Cincinnati Music Hall ballroom, Obama attended a closed-door fundraiser with a group of supporters, among them nationally syndicated talk show host Jerry Springer, the campaign confirms.
According to the pool report, Springer said afterward that the president is "so competent and so smart, I just don't see why we wouldn't want him for four more years as president." Springer served as a one-term Democratic mayor of Cincinnati in 1977 at the age of 33 and has occasionally made appearances at Democratic rallies.
Tickets for the fundraiser cost $25,000 per person and $40,000 per couple, with proceeds going to the Obama Victory Fund.
In a notably jovial mood, Obama later began his onstage remarks joking that his wife had warned him not to sing in public "all the time." He declared, "There's no concert tonight ... or at least not this afternoon," and then he changed his mind.
"There may be a concert tonight," he said happily, proceeding to sing happy birthday to an 18-year-old in the audience.
Among the audience members Obama called on during the townhall was Tony White, the owner of a barbershop, who asked the president how he planned to help small businesses and also, when he could cut his hair.
"Well, first of all, let me answer the second question first. ... You would not want a president who is disloyal to his barber," Obama said with a smile. "I mean, a man and his barber, that's a strong connection. So I am not going to let you cut my hair because my barber would be hurt."
Then, backtracking a little, the president humored, "Maybe I'll let you give me a line -- a little bit."
Obama also teased White's wife, who raised her hand first before announcing that it was her husband who had a question for the president.
"That is what's called a bait and switch. ... The rule is that I'm going to make sure that women get equal time with men," the president declared, promising to take the next two questions from women. He joked, "We got cheated here."