Imagining The VP As An Opening Act Commentator Carrie Brownstein came up with a new method for picking running mates for John McCain and Barack Obama. She's asking people to imagine each of the candidates as bands or musicians. Then, based on their choice, she's having them decide who each candidate should choose as the opening act.
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Imagining The VP As An Opening Act

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Imagining The VP As An Opening Act

Imagining The VP As An Opening Act

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While the French president deals with his spouse's new recording, the presidential hopefuls here in the U.S. are trying to choose their running mates. NPR blogger and music reviewer, Carrie Brownstein, shares this advice.

CARRIE BROWNSTEIN: Choosing a vice-presidential candidate is like choosing an opening act for your rock concert. You don't want to alienate your fans by picking a support act as too different, but a little variety can also appeal to a wider audience. Either way, when the combination of headliner and supporting act is harmonious or so mismatched just to be genius, it can make for an incredible experience.

So, with those concerns in mind, I proposed a new method on my blog. To choose the vice president, we first have to decide what musicians the candidates are. Who, then, would be the best supporting act in order to woo the most diverse group concert goers or voters? For instance, if Barack Obama is The Who, big ideas, unconventional, flashy, then maybe the supporting act should be steadier, someone like Credence Clearwater Revival. That band conveys a different sense of tradition.

(Soundbite of song ''Down on the Corner'')

Mr. JOHN FOGERTY: (Singing) Down on the corner, out here in the street, Willie and the poor boys are playing. Bring a nickel, tap your feet.

BROWNSTEIN: And if John McCain is, say, Lynyrd Skynyrd, attempting to walk a fine line between mass appeal and rebel stance, maybe John Mayer should be the opener. He's a younger artist who is very much part of the establishment, but likes to try on coolness once in awhile, usually to great effect.

(Soundbite of song "Waiting on the World to Change")

Mr. JOHN MAYER: (Singing) It's hard to beat the system, When we're standing at a distance. So, we keep waiting (waiting), Waiting on the world to change.

BROWNSTEIN: Readers sent me their responses, some surprising.

(Soundbite of "F(deleted expletive) or Die")

Ms. LIZ PHAIR: (Singing) Just that I didn't think this would happen again, With or without my best intentions and whatever...

BROWNSTEIN: McCain is Liz Phair, one reader said. Voters might be able to forget his recent turn of cronyism if they were reminded of his admirable past. And if McCain is Liz Phair, then his running mate will need to be none other than Ted Nugent.

(Soundbite of song "Cat Scratch Fever")

BROWNSTEIN: So, which politician is Ted Nugent? Another reader suggested that Obama is Leonard Cohen...

(Soundbite of song "Bird on the Wire")

Mr. LEONARD COHEN: (Singing) Like a bird on the wire...

BROWNSTEIN: On account of his way with words. Thus, he needs a heavy dose of angst and radicalism to back him up. That means The Clash is his running mate. So, which politician's The Clash? I compiled all the responses in an online poll. Thus far, people see Obama as U2, and therefore, feel that Bruce Springsteen is a logical running mate, and the Eagles are who most people imagine is John McCain, though Lawrence Welk is a close second. And Toby Keith is ahead in the polls as a solid opening act.

(Soundbite of song "Whiskey for my Men, Beer for my Horses")

Mr. TOBY KEITH: (Singing) And justice is one the one thing You should always find. You've got to saddle up your boys. You've got to draw a hard line.

BROWNSTEIN: Once we determine the results that McCain is, say, Pat Benatar, and therefore, his running mate should be RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan, then all we have to do is decide what politician is most like RZA. After that, we'll let John McCain's people know. You might say this is my version of Rocking the Vote in 2008.

(Soundbite of music)

COHEN: Carrie Brownstein blogs and reviews music for You can take part in her VP poll by going to

(Soundbite of music)


Coming up on the show, "Generation Kill." We have a review of the new HBO miniseries about Marines in Iraq. We'll also have a review of this week's movie reviews. We'll find out just how good that new Eddie Murphy movie really is.

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