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Springsteen's 'The Rising': Wrong convention tune at the wrong time?

August 28, 2008 |  6:58 am

Moments after Barack Obama followed Joe Biden’s speech at the Democratic National Convention with an unscheduled appearance of his own on stage, the loudspeaker started playing Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising.”

No surprise as far as the featured artist, as Springsteen has gone on record as an Obama supporter.

But  it was the choice of song that puzzled us. “The Rising” is a song about a firefighter who gives his life while trying to save others in the World Trade Center on 9/11. The last verse takes place at his funeral, with his wife and kids in attendance.

An excellent song, to be sure, but a strange one for a campaign rally. Perhaps an Obama staffer just heard the title and listened to the chorus and thought, “Hey, it’s a song about rising, like we want to do in the polls!”

The Ronald Reagan campaign was criticized in 1984 for having “Born in the USA” played during campaign stops, confusing a Vietnam War song with a patriotic anthem. For us, this was a similar faux pas -- it took a bit away from a moment meant to be inspiring to hear a song about death played so loudly.

Next time, the Obama camp might consider Springsteen's “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day.”

-- Houston Mitchell

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