Clinton Asks YouTube Users for Song Help
Sunday, May 27, 2007; 6:32 PM
WASHINGTON -- Hillary Rodham Clinton wants YouTube viewers to pick her campaign theme song _ and the response, so far, has been music to her ears.
In a clear appeal to young voters, a YouTube video asks viewers to vote for Clinton's presidential campaign theme song on her Web site. The contest started May 16 and the number of songs was narrowed to 10 on Thursday _ five initially suggested by the campaign and five write-in candidates.
They range from U2's "Beautiful Day" to Smash Mouth's version of "I'm a Believer" to Celine Dion's "You and I."
"I want to know what you're thinking on one of the most important questions of this campaign," Clinton said in a mock-serious tone during the initial video. "It's something we've been struggling with, debating, agonizing over for months. So now I'm turning to you, the American people."
According to the view counter on YouTube, the May 16 video had more than 500,000 views; a more recent post was seen by more than 40,000. Her campaign said it received more than 130,000 votes in the first round. It promises to release the final result "in the coming days."
In both videos Clinton sports a self-effacing attitude. She mocked her vocal abilities in the first post. The second features clips of people saying, "This is ridiculous" and "Are you freaking kidding me?" in response to the contest, along with Clinton making fun of some of the videos submitted.
"A little self-effacement in her recipe of self-presentation is probably a good idea," Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University, said. "There is a certain sense of over-calculation."
Thompson said the request for help selecting a theme song is not unusual for Clinton, who preceded her 2000 run for the Senate with a "listening tour." This is just taking that concept and putting it online, he added.
"I'd rather have a candidate ask me what I think about major issues," Thompson said. "The way it's being used is: Let's have you guys come and tell me what's the best way to package myself to sell myself to you."
He described the technique as having "a slight ickyness to it."
But Kathleen Hall Jamieson, who directs the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, said any way candidates can engage potential voters, especially young people, at this stage is good.
"If they don't know who you who you are, they're not going to go out and vote for you," she said.