INDIANOLA, Iowa (AP) – â€œField of Dreamsâ€ actor Kevin Costner returned to Iowa on Sunday to go to bat for Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, pitching the small-town mayor as someone worth listening to in the crowded lineup of White House hopefuls.
â€œWhether your road leads you to Pete, like mine has, thatâ€™s for you to judge,â€ Costner, a self-described independent, told more than 1,000 people in the high school gymnasium of Indianola, a town of about 16,000 people located south of Des Moines. â€œWhen Pete speaks of unity, itâ€™s the kind of unity Iâ€™ve been waiting and hoping to hear about.â€
Costner, whose 1989 film offered a mixture of baseball and fantasy amid Iowa cornfields, also noted the status of the stateâ€™s caucuses as the first voting in the selection of a Democratic nominee.
â€œThat power, that awesome responsibility, originates here on the ground in Iowa,â€ said Costner, speaking in a low voice from a lectern and looking casual in jeans and a wind-breaker. â€œWhat you do with your vote is put those first seeds in the ground and see what grows next year.â€
It was Buttigieg, not Costner, who brought up â€œField of Dreams.â€ In a nod to his audience, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, didnâ€™t quote the movieâ€™s most famous line – â€œÃf you build it, he will comeâ€- but a more crowd-pleasing bit of dialogue: â€œIs this heaven? No, itâ€™s Iowa.â€ The candidate thanked the star for making â€œIowa as heavenly as it can be on a December day.â€
Among those turning out to see the director and star of the films â€œDances with Wolvesâ€ and â€œOpen Rangeâ€ and the lead in the current Paramount channel series â€œYellowstoneâ€ was 76-year-old retiree Martha Cunningham. â€œIâ€™d have come to see Pete. But seeing Kevin Costner, thatâ€™s extra!â€ she said.
The appearance of celebrity endorsers marks a new phase in the Iowa campaign as the caucuses loom Feb. 3. Earlier this month, actress Rosario Dawson campaigned with her boyfriend, Cory Booker, the New Jersey senator and Buttigieg rival. Days later, former Olympic ice skater Michelle Kwan was spinning with children at a downtown Des Moines ice rink touting her pick in the 2020 Democratic field, former Vice President Joe Biden.