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Jon Bon Jovi joins Tom Brokaw's cast of characters


Jon Bon Jovi poses at Wednesday's "Characters Unite" town hall. (Courtesy of USA Network)

These are troubled times -- wars, recession, bitter partisanship -- so Tom Brokaw convened some of our top leaders to brainstorm about how to make things right: Michelle Rhee, Cory Booker ... Jon Bon Jovi.

The newsman's panel Wednesday at the Newseum was billed as a "Characters Unite" town hall -- sponsored by USA Network, where Brokaw will soon air his "American Character Along Highway 50" documentary. His agenda: tackling bigotry, promoting diversity.

Intro from former "West Wing" star Dulé Hill: "As a partner of a clairvoyant on 'Psych,' I have a feeling" this panel will be very meaningful, he said. ("Psych," also on USA.)

Then two hours of talk, our colleague Marissa Newhall reports. On unemployment, Newark Mayor Booker said his city's rate is 14.7 percent. But it "doesn't necessarily mean a rise in crime. ... Residents are coming together like never before."

On racism, sociologist Michael Eric Dyson said President Obama has "made sexy brilliance popular again." But: "We think the election of one black man, who now lives in public housing in Washington, D.C.," ended racial tension. (By which he meant some people think that, but they're wrong.)

Bon Jovi, should all entertainers be as politically active as you? "Just because you have a spotlight and a microphone doesn't mean you have to be on a panel like this," he said. "I choose to do this."

He also chose not to look amused when two other panelists -- Dyson and activist David Mixner -- remarked on how nice Bon Jovi's wife looked that day.


By The Reliable Source  |  December 3, 2009; 1:03 AM ET
 
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