Each campaign is handling the decision in its own way -- some settling on official songs, some using different music for different occasions. Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri launched his campaign with Tina Turner's "The Best," said spokesman Erik Smith -- in part because Ike and Tina Turner played at one of Gephardt's high school dances. Lately, the campaign has been using "Let the Day Begin," by The Call, after a Teamsters organizer played it at some rallies.
The staff of Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut chose Sister Sledge's "We Are Family," spokesman Jano Cabrera said, hoping to remind voters that "all Democrats share a core set of values." Senator Bob Graham of Florida has revived a 19th-century tradition of original jingles; on the trail, he has been known to croon "We've Got a Friend in Bob Graham."
Senator John Edwards of North Carolina has lately used Smashmouth's cover of "I'm a Believer," the Monkees hit penned by Neil Diamond. The Rev. Al Sharpton campaigns to Bob Marley and Peter Tosh's "Get Up, Stand Up." Carol Moseley Braun, the former Illinois senator, has used "You Gotta Be," by R&B vocalist Melissa Desiree. Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio is using John Lennon's "Imagine."
Gurin, the Kerry fan, however, gives his nod to former Vermont governor Howard Dean, who tends to enter rooms to "Little Less Conversation," as performed by Elvis Presley and remixed by Junkie XL.
It fits Dean's "moderately to very angry" image, said Gurin, an advertising copywriter from San Francisco. "When you hear that song, you expect to see a little short guy from Vermont to walk out on stage."
For Kerry, Gurin first suggested "Mama Said Knock You Out," in a fit of anger at the Bush administration. Then he listened to the lyrics, which did not seem particularly productive: "Don't call it a comeback / I been here for years / Rockin' my peers and puttin suckas in fear."
Now, he is leaning toward "Walk This Way" -- the Aerosmith and Run-DMC version -- which he considers shocking enough to stick. And he is sure about one thing: The songs Kerry has played on the stump so far, Bruce Springsteen's "No Surrender" and Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down," are ready for retirement.
"It sounds like a bunch of old white guys in a focus group thought it up," Gurin said. "It needs a little originality and a little punch."
Sure enough, though, Springsteen figured heavily among the suggestions that flooded onto Kerry's website this month. Both "No Surrender" and "I Won't Back Down" are still in the running, said Kerry spokeswoman Kelley Benander, who said a decision is coming soon.
The rejects, so far: the title song from the musical "Hair," Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror," and Moby's "Body Rock."
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
What song leaps to mind when you think of John Kerry, Dick Gephardt, Carol Mosely Braun, or Bob Graham? These are the difficult questions that torment campaign managers.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 9:35 AM