'Hold On,' Obama: This Isn't Your Song

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Borrowing good lines from your friend's speeches is perilous enough, but the real minefield? Playing the wrong guy's song at your rallies.

Barack Obama is the latest presidential contender to feel the wrath of a crooner -- Sam Moore of the legendary R&B duo Sam & Dave, who recently demanded the campaign stop playing their "Hold On, I'm Comin' " at rallies, where some fans sang it as "Hold On, Obama's Coming."

The problem? The singer's wife, Joyce, told us they feared it would look like Moore had endorsed Obama, which he has not. But Sam Moore himself also cited artistic qualms.

"When the song was first recorded by Dave and myself, it was pulled off the market because it had such sexual orientations," he said yesterday. (Sample lyrics: Reach out to me for satisfaction / Call my name now for quick reaction.) "I don't want to get graphic with this, but how do you take a song about getting girls and turn it into a political thing? Somebody's really desperate!"

In recent weeks, John McCain stopped playing John Mellencamp tunes after the singer's rep protested their politics are incompatible; and Mike Huckabee pulled the plug on Boston's"More Than a Feeling" after a complaint from the songwriter, an Obama guy.

Moore has reason to be wary: When he let Bob Dole tweak his classic "Soul Man" in '96 ("Dole Man"), the songwriters cried foul. And if a song gets too closely linked to a campaign, it hurts its potential for getting licensed elsewhere.

A rep for the Obama camp told reporters over the weekend they would stop playing "Hold On."

Blumenthal's 'Dark Side,' in the Oscar Limelight

And the Oscar goes to . . . Sid Blumenthal. Not an actual gold statuette, but the Hillary Clinton adviser is one of five executive producers of "Taxi to the Dark Side," which snagged the Best Documentary prize at Sunday's Academy Awards. "I was really not prepared to win this thing because the subject is so difficult," he said yesterday, happily spreading the news coast to coast.

Long story short, the journalist-politico told us he first went Hollywood with "Tanner '88," Garry Trudeau's HBO political satire, and worked on a number of other projects before hooking up with director Alex Gibney ("Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room") and producer Eva Orner. The result: a searing indictment of the Bush administration policy on torture and interrogation, which debuted last April and will air on HBO this fall.

Blumenthal walked down the red carpet of the Kodak Theatre, right behind George Clooney (that's why we missed him!), and was in the house when "Taxi" won. Gibney and Orner accepted the two naked gold guys but the other producers got to play with them later. "We all rubbed Oscar's head standing at the bar," Blumenthal said.

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

Phyllis George, Miss America 1971, lunching downtown at the Palm yesterday with this year's newly crowned edition, Kirsten Haglund (in a cute, floaty red-and-blue top and black slacks). George, in a black suit, welcomed Haglund into "the sisterhood," praising the white peekaboo evening gown that helped her win: "Sexy, but classy-sexy." Then everyone practiced waving. Really! Also at the large table: D.C. jeweler Ann Hand (who has the Miss A contract) and multimedia diva Tammy Haddad (a Miss A board member).


Pregnant: Norah O'Donnell, expecting her third child this summer. MSNBC's Washington correspondent and husband Geoff Tracy brought home twins Henry and Grace last May; the new baby (a girl) will arrive in early July -- just in time for O'Donnell to cover the Democratic and GOP conventions eight weeks later.


Louis Gossett Jr. is joining the cast of "Fences" in next month's " August Wilson's 20th Century" festival, the Kennedy Center announced yesterday. He replaces Charles S. Dutton , who was slated to star in Wilson's best-known play but backed out for a movie role -- causing a last-minute scramble for another big name.

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