WASHINGTON — At the first Democratic cattle call of the 2008 presidential race, several of the party’s declared and prospective candidates on Friday delivered some of the sound bites, applause lines, and themes they’ll continue to use throughout their campaigns. But they also unveiled something else: their campaign theme songs.
All of the candidates on display -- former Gen. Wesley Clark, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, former vice presidential nominee John Edwards, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, and Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois -- were allowed to select their entrance and exit songs for their speeches here at the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting. And all of Friday’s speakers followed through except Obama, whose campaign chose not to play music before and after his remarks.
As the saying goes, you can learn a lot about someone from his musical play list.
Dodd was the first speaker on Friday, and he led off the musical selection with some Motown. He walked onto the stage to “Get Ready” by the Temptations. (“Get ready ‘cause here I come...”) And he exited to “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” by the Four Tops. (“I'll be there with a love that will shelter you/ I'll be there with a love that will see you through.”)
Clark, who hasn’t still announced whether he’ll run for president in 2008, took the podium to Johnny Cash’s cover of “Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty -- an obvious nod to the general’s opposition to the Iraq war. ("In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around/But I’ll stand my ground/and I won't back down.”)
During his 2004 campaign, Edwards used John Mellencamp’s “Small Town,” a reminder of the small-town roots of this son of a mill worker. This time, Edwards, who has made eliminating poverty a key part of his current campaign, stuck with Mellencamp -- but used the American rocker’s “Our Country” for both his entrance and exit music. (“From the East Coast/To the West Coast/Down the Dixie highway/Back home/This is our country.”)
The anti-war Kucinich, who used John Lennon’s “Imagine” as his theme song during his quixotic bid in 2004, entered and exited this time to the patriotic tune of “America, the Beautiful.” (“Oh, beautiful for spacious skies…) In fact, he concluded his speech by focusing on the song’s line “Crown thy good with brotherhood.”
“Crown thy good, America,” he said as his voice began to waver. “Crown thy good, America. Crown thy good.”
And speaking last on Friday -- but certainly not least -- was Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who walked into the ballroom to the pop tune “Right Here, Right Now” by Jesus Jones. (“Right here, right now/watching the world wake up from history.”) And Clinton’s exit song was fitting for someone who’s trying to prove she can be the next president: “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” by Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
Speaking on Saturday will be Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. Per the Biden campaign, the senator will enter and exit to John Fogerty’s “Centerfield.” (“Oh, put me in coach/I’m ready to play/today.”)
"We chose it because Sen. Biden loves baseball and can cover all the bases," a campaign spokeswoman said.
Vilsack, meanwhile, will take to the stage to "Let the Day Begin" by The Call. (“Here's to the babies in a brand new world/Here's to the beauty of the stars.”) And in closing, he will exit to the Four Tops’ “Reach Out, I'll Be There" -- the same music Dodd used on Friday.
But Vilsack spokeswoman Stephanie Bjornson insists that the former governor used the song first when he kicked off his campaign at an event last November -- proving that these campaign songs are serious business.
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