Tales from the Trail

Rock band The National to headline Obama fundraiser in Ohio

Music group The National and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz will headline a fundraiser benefiting President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in Cincinnati on October 5, a donor to the campaign said.

The early-evening event in downtown Cincinnati will feature an acoustic concert by the alternative rock group, which is known for brooding songs like “Bloodbuzz Ohio.” The Brooklyn-based band, which formed in Cincinnati, has been Obama’s opening act a number of times since his first White House run in 2008.

The event will also feature remarks and a question and answer session with Schultz, a Florida lawmaker who has ripped Republicans for proposed austerity measures and changes to government-run healthcare for the elderly.

The event is expected to draw between 150 to 200 people, which could raise between $150,000 and $200,000 for the Democratic incumbent, who has edged past Republican challenger Mitt Romney in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

The event could draw additional Democratic lawmakers and Obama surrogates but will not include Obama or his running mate, Joe Biden, the source said.

Applause (and hints on clapping) for classical music

The East Room of the White House was turned into a chamber ringing with classical music from celebrities such as violinist Joshua Bell on Wednesday as part of the fourth installment in First Lady Michelle Obama’s ongoing performance series.


President Barack Obama welcomed the hushed crowd, which included a handful of high school musicians and members of Congress, by telling those unsure of when to applaud during classical performances they were not alone.

Former President John F. Kennedy had the same problem, he said, until he enlisted his social secretary to discreetly signal him to clap.

“Fiesta Latina” changes the rhythm at Obama White House

hosts President Barack Obama celebrated the growing contribution of Hispanic culture and music to the United States with a “Fiesta Latina” at the White House, part of a musical series started by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Latin music “moves us and tends to make us want to move ourselves,” the president declared.

Actors Eva Longoria Parker, George Lopez and Jimmy Smits began the show joking that Obama is Hispanic.

Why does Sarah Palin’s biopic sound so familiar?

ST. PAUL – “Mother. Moose hunter. Maverick.” As a film on vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin began at the Republican National Convention on Thursday night, a strangely familiar melody played in the background.

The swelling strings triggered associations of family, oil and … J.R. Ewing? Yes, the song bore a striking similarity to the theme song from “Dallas.”

Listen for yourself:

Sarah Palin bio (from about 0:35) YouTube Preview Image

Dallas opening credits (from about 0:10) YouTube Preview Image

Country star John Rich performs for McCain

military.jpgPANAMA 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.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

Photo credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder (McCain speaks July 21 outside Maine Military Museum in South Portland)