PANAMA CITY, Florida – Republican presidential candidate John McCain, whose musical tastes are known to include the disco band Abba, took in some country music on Friday — courtesy of Nashville star John Rich.
Rich, half of the star duo “Big and Rich,” staged a waterside concert for McCain in the Florida Panhandle, a traditional Republican part of the battleground state.
McCain’s rallies earlier this year included the tune, Johnny B. Goode, and once he got tired of that, Abba’s 1977 hit “Take a Chance on Me” was his song of choice.
Music at his events are now an eclectic mix from the Rolling Stones to Tina Turner and Brooks and Dunn.
Rich, in between songs, declared himself a west Texas conservative who gets frustrated when he turns on the television because “I always see the other side” of the political spectrum represented.
So, he said, he wrote a song called “Raising McCain,” which he performed.
“We’re all just raising McCain,” he sang. “You can get on the train, or get out of the way, we’re all just raising McCain.”
At that point, McCain pulled up in his Straight Talk Express bus with his wife, Cindy, and Florida Republican Gov. Charlie Crist and his fiance.
Noting the military veterans in the crowd, McCain said: “We will not surrender, not in Iraq or Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world.”
Rich’s musical partner, Big Kenny Alphin, was not at the Country First concert, and is reported to have given money to the campaign of Democrat Barack Obama.
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Photo credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder (McCain speaks July 21 outside Maine Military Museum in South Portland)