Get Down Tonight! Presidential Candidates & Their Playlists

Campaigning is no easy task! Check out the playlists that get President Obama, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul amped up on the campaign trail.

No major political campaign is complete without a signature play list for rallies and victory celebrations. One of the most notable political music choices in recent times was when candidate Bill Clinton relied on Fleetwood Mac’s "Don’t Stop" to pump up his supporters. Clinton’s choice proved to be shorthand for his 1992 campaign when it came to connecting with voters on the way to his White House victory.

Since then, subsequent candidates have searched for the perfect anthem to fit their message and to motivate their own supporters.  But why stop at one song?  In this day of iPods and Spotify, why not have a whole play list? Apparently, the White House staff asked that same question because President Obama’s re-election campaign has got one! We know from one of Barack Obama’s recent appearances that he’s an Al Green fan, but you might be surprised at some of the other tunes that will be rocking out Obama’s effort in the coming months! 

I’m guessing the President got a little help from Malia and Sasha on this list, but here are a few interesting choices, plus some from his G.O.P. opponents.

Noah and the Whale, "Tonight’s the Kind of Night"
This selection from the British indie-folk band, supposedly named for the movie The Squid and The Whale and its director Noah Baumbach, is something of a surprise.  In the past, Obama’s musical tastes have leaned to more familiar tunes from his own youth. Some White house staffers had a hand in this year’s musical effort, so maybe someone snuck in a few of their favorites for events geared toward the group he needs to woo again -- college students and the 18- to 29-year-old crowd.

Al Green, "Let’s Stay Together"
It’s obvious from the President’s recent “performance” that he’s got a soft spot for Al Green.  But the president only serenaded us with a few bars from "Let’s Stay Together." Did he stop crooning because he didn’t remember all the words?  Now that it’s on his official play list, he’ll have no excuse for not singing the whole song next time.

Electric Light Orchestra, "Mr. Blue Sky"
Barack Obama was firmly in his teen years when the iconic 70’s band ELO released this song. “Why did you have to hide away for so long?” is part of the lyric. A segment of the President’s 2008 supporters might be asking the same question, as some have wondered why he retreated to the inner sanctum of the White House after his election and didn’t continue to engage the grassroots supporters who made his victory possible.

Ricky Martin, "The Best Thing About Me is You"
Guessing that the remaining Republican candidates won’t add this to their campaign-sanctioned music mix, not so much for the lyrics, but for the gay pride video produced to go along with it.

Florence + The Machine, "You’ve Got the Love"
I was surprised to find this selection on the play list of our president since their sound pretty different from some of the other selections on his list. After listening to the lyrics, I’m wondering whether the campaign included this one in the mix to satisfy at least a few people who are upset right now with the President over religion. 

President Obama isn’t the only contender who’s delving into the iTunes store looking for musical motivation. Mitt Romney doesn’t seem like the country music type to me, but he’s latched onto "American Ride" by Toby Keith for some of his campaign stops. Sure, with the Michigan primary looming, this one makes sense. But is he allowed to listen to music with swearing in it? Romney is also using Kid Rock's "Born Free" at some campaign events. Call me crazy, but I’d be pretty surprised if Mitt listens to either one of those in his “hi-fi" at home.

Libertarian leaning G.O.P. candidate Ron Paul seems to be a fan of the Darth Vader theme song "Imperial March" from Star Wars. Paul doesn’t look nearly as scary as Darth Vader, but choosing the music that always signals the arrival of Lord Vader or his minions certainly isn’t subtle in its messaging from a candidate. Can it really be saying anything other than, “If you don’t get out of my way, you’ll suffer the consequences and they won’t be pretty”?  

Newt Gingrich got into a little copyright trouble for playing Survivor’s "Eye of the Tiger", the Rocky III theme song, without having jumped through the appropriate legal hoops at his stump speeches. No news on what he’s come up with to replace it with. Maybe one of Callista’s French Horn solos?

Rick Santorum  hasn’t tipped his musical hand much at this point, other than relying on some so generic orchestral music at his stops. I’m guessing in light of his stand on gay marriage that  Lady Gaga’s "Born This Way" won’t be playing on the campaign bus. Megadeth singer Dave Mustaine recently said he supports Santorum’s White House run. But I’d be surprised if we hear "Symphony of Destruction" at any of his events.

Watch: Ann Romney & Callista Gingrich: GOP Wives' Cheat Sheet - Part 1


Watch: Karen Santorum & Carolyn Paul: GOP Wives' Cheat Sheet - Part 2

You can read more from iVillage iVote Editor and Correspondent Joanne Bamberger at her blog, PunditMom. Joanne is also the author of Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America, on sale now at Follow her on Twitter at @PunditMom.

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