Allan Jalon in the LA Times reports:
When it comes to campaign themes, the arts can’t compete with healthcare reform, national security, the sluggish economy — just about anything you might name. But this presidential primary season, people who work at the crossroads of politics and culture say the arts have attained a higher profile than usual …
[Senator Obama’s campaign has sent out] an e-mail detailing how Obama would increase support for the National Endowment for the Arts, embrace arts education, strengthen cultural diplomacy … In Ohio, meanwhile, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign worked to arrange a gathering at which her advisors hoped to win arts-interested voters with her commitment to the same ideas. Mike Huckabee has promised that should he be elected, he’d follow through on his devotion to arts education, especially. And last March, John McCain answered a New Hampshire theater manager who said he hoped the senator would support the arts by sending the man a personal check for $500.
The statements and promises, as it turns out, reflect an initiative called ArtsVote2008 mounted by the political arm of a group called Americans for the Arts, or AFTA.