STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
NPR's Neda Ulaby interviewed two very different critics who came to the same conclusion - the video and the song choice should have been whacked.
NEDA ULABY: In the video, Hillary Clinton channels Tony Soprano's final moments, flipping through a diner jukebox and chatting with a loving spouse.
(SOUNDBITE OF CAMPAIGN VIDEO)
BILL CLINTON: How's the campaign going?
HILLARY CLINTON: Well, like you always say, focus on the good times.
CAROL DARR: You know, those things, you know, they either just kind of work or they don't work. It just didn't work for me. I just wanted to say, well, you know, guys, don't quit your day job.
ULABY: That's Carol Darr. Her day job is directing the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet at George Washington University. Now it's not Darr's job to decide whether something is funny, but it is Joe Garden's. He's features editor at The Onion, and he, too, hated the Clintons' "Sopranos" video.
JOE GARDEN: It just struck me as amazing that somebody who spent valuable Senate time and tax dollars is griping about video game violence and sort of trying to piggyback on the popularity of a television show about a murderous sociopath.
ULABY: Bad as he found the "Sopranos" video, Garden thinks the new campaign song is even worse.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YOU AND I")
CELINE DION: High above the mountains, far across the sea...
ULABY: Celine Dion's song, "You and I," was selected democratically - presumably by Clinton supporters who visited her Web site by the hundreds of thousands to vote, says Mandy Grunwald. She heads advertising for Hillary Clinton's campaign. She says the song was a write-in favorite.
MANDY GRUNWALD: It's an inspiring song about, you know, being able to fly. And I think the country would like to fly away from where we are today.
ULABY: Still, two different personal branding experts consulted by NPR said the song comes across as slow, sappy and safe. Carol Darr thought it needed a different singer.
DARR: You know who I would have liked to seen? I would have liked to have seen Hillary Clinton herself singing the Celine Dion song.
ULABY: Darr thinks Clinton missed an opportunity to build on the success of a viral video that caught the senator warbling the national anthem at a baseball game.
(SOUNDBITE OF SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON SINGING)
CLINTON: O'er the land of the free...
ULABY: She's got - God bless her - just a terrible voice. It would have been funny. It would have showed a softer side of her. It would have been loosening up. It would have been making fun of herself.
ULABY: But making fun is perhaps best left to professionals like The Onion's Joe Garden and his circle.
GARDEN: My wife had the greatest idea, was to start a write-in campaign to make "Yakety Sax" by Boots Randolph the theme song for Hillary. I don't know if you know - it's better know as Benny Hill theme, you know? (Humming) I think that would have been great.
GARDEN: I just think it's a - it's madcap. It's zany. It's a laugher, a feeling of fun that is missing from the Clinton campaign.
ULABY: Injecting fun into the campaign of a serious politician like Hillary Clinton is seen as a necessity to win some voters, says George Washington University's Carol Darr. But she does not think any presidential candidate deserves too much criticism for goofy videos or theme songs.
DARR: I think it says more about us than it says about them, that we're - as a country and as voters - not focused enough on what is truly important.
ULABY: Neda Ulaby, NPR News, Washington.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YAKETY SAX")
INSKEEP: You can find a link to the Hillary Clinton "Sopranos" video at npr.org.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YAKETY SAX")
INSKEEP: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.
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