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Election 2008

The YouTube Campaigners

Sanden Totten

Full Episode Audio
"Lead the Way," A Song for John McCain
(Judd L. Kessler)
"Yes We Can!" by Clinton supporter jallen285

Judd Kessler: I am, to my shock and horror, 69 years old. I got the notion to write a song, a sort of anthem for the John McCain campaign. It's called "Lead the Way."

"Be The Change That You Want To See" by Kat Edmonson
(Kat Edmonson)

It starts out talking about how, some people say America, which was once proud and strong is now divided into states of red and blue. And how some people think we have lost our way in the world. And then there is a refrain about lead the way McCain.

You know, creativity is a crazy business, but I had no intention of writing a song. But my son sings in a men's choir and my wife and I went to hear our son sing. And after hearing them sing a couple of songs it just occurred to me that it would be nice if there was a song about John McCain that some idealistic young people like that could sing. And right there in my seat I pulled out a piece of paper and started writing words and humming a tune. I went home and that weekend in about two hours I had the song. Well I should hardly claim that this has become the official anthem of the campaign. It really just came out of my own feelings. I just think he's the right guy.


Allen Brown: I'm 23 years old and I am from Chicago, Ill.

What inspired me to make videos for Sen. Clinton was that she's someone I've always looked up to as a very powerful first lady.

Well, the videos that I have been making are basically commentaries. Usually when I make my videos it's during a time when I'm really worked up about something. I want to get a message out there that I think is not being conveyed.

I think a perspective I bring to the campaign would be, you know, when people see my face on there, they see that this is an African American male who supports Sen. Clinton, when a majority, I think 88 percent of African Americans, are supporting Barack Obama. What I really want to show is that there are other people who support Hillary Clinton who are young and diverse.

The reactions I get for my videos range from Hillary Clinton supporters, to a very negative reaction from my own people, the African American community. You know, basically calling me a sell-out and things of that nature.

My response to the reactions, the negative ones of course, sometimes I do feel a little discouraged. But in the end, the great far outweigh the bad. So, I hope that my viewers take away from my videos a new sense of looking at politics. That they not go so much on emotion and rhetoric. But on who would actually do a better job running the nation.


Kat Edmonson: I am 24-years-old and I am a singer and a song writer in Austin, Texas.

The name of the song is "Be the Change You Want to See."

Obama is campaigning for change in our country and I am doing the same through my art. The song encourages people to take personal responsibility for what is going on in our country and all around us. Barack Obama is saying just that.

Well, I spent a lot of time writing this song actually. And there's tricks you can use as an artist. My partner and I, we examined the chord progression and what felt motivating with certain lyrics and what felt moving at certain times, you know.

I am for Barack Obama and I am public about my opinion. My boyfriend's mom was asking, you know, what we'd be doing. Were we gonna go phone bank? Were we going to canvas houses, knock on doors? But I feel like it's a new age. We don't need to knock on one door at a time when we can hit a thousand people all at once with a song on the Internet.

More stories from our Election 2008 series


  • Comment | Refresh

  • By Michael Grady

    From Richfield, OH, 03/08/2008

    What a great idea and a great show. The internet has so much to offer songwriters and artists, and listeners too. The response is so immediate, and often brutally honest. Sometimes the difficulty is making our way through the chaff to the wheat, but just like in politics, you can't seem to have one without the other.

    Northeast Ohio has a little-but-growing group of songwriters called the Summit County Songwriters Circle, and our members often present political songs. Historically, it is what folk music is about. For those who like this kind of music, I personally have a song called "People Gonna Rise Again" that you can find at the Summit County Songwriters Circle youtube page, along with many other "grassroots" offerings by a wide range of artists.

    Thanks NPR,
    Michael Grady

    By Molly O'Brien

    From Roseville, MN, 03/08/2008

    Kat, your song and video are AWESOME... listening and watching brought tears to my eyes!!

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