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Election 2008

Revisiting Mike Gravel

John Moe

Bill Radke

Karen Fritsche

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Mike Gravel: Give Him a Chance

Bill Radke: John Moe is with us now, and John, Gravel's right, he doesn't turn down video ideas.

John Moe: He's true to his word, Bill, he apparently has not been turning down much work when it comes to doing videos. The campaign itself hasn't really caught fire. But he has been making videos aplenty of all stripes. Any genre under the sun you could imagine. The one that's been getting the most attention though is this sort of mash up of Gravel with John Lennon. It's Gravel's version of the song "Give Peace a Change."

And visually, Bill, you have to imagine a sort of "School House Rock" kind of graphic effect here, a lot of flashing colors, 1776 fife-and-drum kind of thing going on. And then a long section where a cartoon turtle gets blown up with some dynamite.

Right. No naked Yoko, however, I notice.

No naked Yoko on this, just an exploded turtle.

How did this video happen, John?

Well once again, somebody came up to the Gravel campaign and said I've got this idea, can I borrow Senator Mike Gravel for 15 minutes. And they had him go off for a while and tape this thing and read these lyrics. And there's a part where he puts some tape over his mouth, and he holds a flag. And then this guy ran off and did it. And apparently, its been a big hit, both within the campaign and on YouTube. Or as Gravel says, iTube.

The iTube. Compared to the mournful, unsettling, rock-in-the-water video, this is a more fun Mike Gravel.

Yeah, that's a sliding scale. It is more fun than he was before. It's still not much fun. But he does smirk once in a while. He does return however to the form of the angry man a little bit in another video called, "The Two Mikes." It's made by a fellow named David Hodge in California, and they wanted to make something that captured Gravel's anger and also was extraordinarily affordable to produce. So they came up with this idea of two Mike Gravel heads, kind of floating in space, arguing with each other.

It would have been so much easier to hire a friend to ask the questions, but he did it the hard way.

And we never do find out what his favorite ice cream flavor is. But again this one too has been all over the internet, people have been watching it, there's more of them out there where Gravel's dressed as Santa at some sort of Tennessee Christmas party, there's one where he's on an elevator talking about an Xbox. Very few of them have anything to do with policy issues, about, you know running for president, for instance.

How has all this iTube love he's been getting actually affected his candidacy?

No discernable effect whatsoever. He's still way at the bottom of the polls, if he even registers on the polls at all. Several of these debates, they haven't even invited Gravel to attend. In fact, at one of them, he wasn't invited, so he had his own event nearby, where the debate was being shown on a big screen, and then Gravel would just talk back to the other candidates in front of a group of supporters. So as a candidate, he's been a very successful avant-garde video star.

"Weekend America's" John Moe, thanks John.

Thanks Bill.

More stories from our Election 2008 series


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