Mellencamp rallies 'God's Country' to Edwards' side: The Swamp
The Swamp
Posted January 3, 2008 9:21 AM
The Swamp

Rock star John Mellencamp performs during the last stop of Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards 36-hour bus tour around Iowa on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2008 in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

by John Chase

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa—Presidential hopeful John Edwards capped a 36-hour, 16-stop tour of Iowa on Wednesday by declaring at a rock concert that he was the only candidate who could fight corporate greed and represent the common American worker.

With Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses just hours away, the former Democratic senator from North Carolina held a large rally as the topper of his “Marathon for the Middle Class” tour and used rocker John Mellencamp as a final lure to engage the electorate.

“Corporate greed is robbing our children of the promise of America and it is time for us to fight back,” Edwards told a raucous crowd. “And right here, beginning in the heartland of America, here in Iowa, you’re going to rise up, you’re going to stand up, you’re going to speak up and you’re going to say to America, ‘Enough is enough, we want our country back, we want our democracy back, we are better than this.’”

After performing five of his songs, many with political undertones, Mellencamp introduced Edwards’ family at the Val Air Ballroom in West Des Moines and said he’s known Edwards for several years and believes he’s the best candidate for president.

“He’s always said the right things to me,” Mellencamp said.

During a solo performance of “Pink Houses,” the crowd cheered wildly when Mellencamp sang a line from the song: “Boy, you’re gonna’ be president.”

Introducing her husband, Elizabeth Edwards declared Mellencamp was the “musical voice of the working man of this country,” and said her husband was the “political voice of the working man of this country.”

In November, Mellencamp brought Edwards out on stage during a concert in Des Moines where Edwards was jeered for a few minutes by concertgoers who clearly weren’t interested in listening to a political speech.

But none of that was evident Wednesday’s event, which was geared more as an Edwards event where Mellencamp also happened to be performing.

“I felt like that was very rude at that concert,” declared Leslie Irvin, a 54-year-old self-employed Edwards supporter who saw the November show and was also at Wednesday’s event, later correctly predicting: “But you won’t see that tonight.”

Indeed, the crowd, which ranged from teenagers to 50-something Mellencamp addicts, still seemed more enthused about the politician than the performer.

Edwards and Mellencamp say they are friends and the singer is endorsing Edwards’ run for president, which has relied heavily on his theme of fighting corporate America in favor of the interests of the working class.

One of Edwards’ main musical campaign themes is Mellencamp’s song, “Our Country,” a song Mellencamp sang Wednesday night and one he also has sold to auto giant Chevy for TV commercials.

It isn’t the first time a popular Edwards supporter has had close ties to the corporate world he so steadfastly blasts on the campaign trail.

Over the summer, seven-time Tour de France champ and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong rode his bike side-by-side with Edwards during a statewide bike tour. But he disagreed with the former North Carolina senator about whether drug companies should be at the negotiating table when it comes to developing and enacting a national health care plan, something Edwards opposes.

Among Armstrong’s biggest corporate sponsors is Bristol-Myers Squibb, a pharmaceutical company that he has credited with helping save his life.

“I don’t believe you can sit at a table and negotiate with drug companies, insurance companies, oil companies and hope that they will voluntarily give their power away,” Edwards said. “We will get their power out of their hands when we take their power away from them.”

Have questions about the results of tonight's Iowa caucuses, what's next in the race for the White House or anything related to Election 2008? E-mail them to us and we'll answer as many as possible during our video chat scheduled for 12:30 pm central time Friday.

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Love Mellencamp's music, but the entertainers drive me nuts when they get on the political bandwagons.

It's not that they shouldn't use their celebrity to promote causes/candidates they believe in. Some of the awarenss that Bono has brought to poverty/aids is remarkable.

But anyone who votes for a candidate, democrat or republican, because of a celebrity endorser is an idiot.

And I am pretty sure that not many do.

Michael Moore, Tom Hayden, Ralph Nader, and Norman Solomon, Paul Loeb, and John Nichols, all HIGHLY respected progressives, have recently spoken up for John Edwards.

This might provide the "gelling of the progressive base" that Edwards needs in Iowa and the weeks ahead.

go ahead & vote for this idiot,he did NOTHING for our state of nc in the senate.he was not present for 1 vote what makes you think he can run the country?

If you look at the FCC records for this election, Mellencamp has not so far put his money where his mouth is. No contribution from Mellencamp to Edwards is listed.

Another celebrity nitwit who shouldn't dabble in politics.

So far, Edwards is my choice, among the Democrats. He is saying what the Democrats should be saying.
I tend to be more of a Republican, but I am so upset with the Bush administration and their illegal approach to government it makes it hard to support any Republican.
I know it's wrong to carry the wrong doings of one person over to another, whether it be the sexual exploits of Clinton or the crimes of Bush, but I just can't see hiring a Republican for the job right now. I think the party has been taken over by crazies.

NO more Clinton dynasty, Mc Cain's politics of fear, Edwards Phony tactics and corrupted Health Industry.

Also its time to end 20 years of Clinton/Bush political dynasty.







Very true, Oscar. And I'm sure there are others, too.

Paul Krugman comes to mind. He seems to praise one of Edwards' plans every column. I think that has helped a lot of people take another look at Edwards, especially since the rest of the traditional media either ignores him, or simplifies him by calling him angry with a nice head of hair.

This will probably be as effective as the infamous "Vote for Change" tour in 2004.

Remember that loser fest?

Ha Ha

Wow, John Edwards has actually got me optimistic about the state of American politics! I can't believe some of the radical positions he is taking and brave things he is saying - let's just hope he doesn't have to take too many journeys in helicopters..

Go Johnny Go!

I was at the Edwards/Mellencamp rally. He was very convincing, hard hitting, right on the money on all the major issues. Not sure how robert stinnet above can say Edwards "... was not present for 1 vote what makes you think he can run the country?" That's easy to dispute. Just check this url for his current positions and some of his senate votes.

I'm not republican or democrat-but why folks can't see how fake this guy is,is unbelievable-if we really want to help the working man then we need to stop voting in millionaires that have lost the callous's on their hand-i've been in the work field for 25years now & mellencamp is not a voice for me-i'll match my songs against his any time-me & my acoustic/him & his-a real working mans song against someone that hasn't had a money concern in decades

Edward are you ready to go bring down the Bourgeoisie pigs?

Edwards is the best thing I've seen in over 30 years of voting. As a retired military veteran--I served six Commanders-In-Chief. One thing they all had in common--each vowed to support "average americans". Guess what--none of them did!!! This may be our last hope of getting the genuine article before our children are destined to seek meaningful employment OUTSIDE of America.

Call someone right now and make a date to take them to caucus. John Edwards is going to the "nail 'em up" tonight.

please vote edwards in! We are going to support him big time on the west coast. Obama supported the war and all the other crap just like Clinton. Obama and Clinton will play ball with corporate elites. Edwards will be the first progressive president our country has ever had!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm not an Iowan, so I'm not going to tell any Iowan what they ought to think. Just go to the caucus and vote your conscience. But do I think that John Mellencamp is not "just some rock star". Seems that he was organizing Farm Aid to help save the family farmer over 25 years ago, and has stayed committed to that cause. If he likes John Edwards, that means more to me than just some run of the mill celebrity liking a candidate.

If you look at the FCC records for this election, Mellencamp has not so far put his money where his mouth is. No contribution from Mellencamp to Edwards is listed.

Another celebrity nitwit who shouldn't dabble in politics.

Posted by: Bruce | January 3, 2008 10:47 AM

Man, Bruce. You really take the expression "putting your money where your mouth is", literally.

If a person spends a day a week volunteering their time at the homeless shelter, but doesn't donate money directly to the homeless, does that mean they're not supportive?

Do you spend half your pathetic life over at looking for a reason to discredit someone?

Why do you find it objectionable for a "celebrity" musician to "dabble in politics", but not a "celebrity" whack-job (Ann Cooter), bible-smacker (Ted Haggard), or white-shoe lawyer, Civil War author, spelling and media-bias troll (Bruce Allerdice)?

BTW, I see your old Alma-mater got their asses kicked by the Trojans, just like the Repubs will in '09.

Shorter Oscar:

Oink, oink, oink, oink! North Carolina...home of the world's biggest hog farms! We love our own crap and Edwards didn't think it was great. Boo Edwards.

corporations and lobbyists. i think Edwards is trying to represent the middle and lower classes. wow, what an interesting notion. why doesn't he have as much money as Obama and Clinton? hmmmmm.... maybe because corporations and lobbyists aren't throwing money at him.

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