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Government and Politics




Rock and roll and politics converge in Cleveland
New Rock Hall inductees The Red Hot Chili Peppers treat Obama campaign volunteers to concert
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ
This story is part of a special series.


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
The Red Hot Chili Peppers put on a free concert for 1,200 Obama campaign volunteers at the House of Blues in Cleveland.
Courtesy of Amanda Rabinowitz
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The Obama administration capitalized on this past weekend’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland to energize young voters. New inductees The Red Hot Chili Peppers put on a free concert for campaign volunteers at the House of Blues downtown. WKSU’s Amanda Rabinowitz reports on the power of mixing music with politics.

Music and politics in Cleveland

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For the volunteers
The concert from the Rock Hall’s newest enshrinees was the payoff for 1,200 fans who volunteered for President Obama’s re-election campaign in the past week. Tickets were awarded only to those who logged two hours at a Northeast Ohio campaign phone bank. For some, like Cleveland State University student Randy Johns, politics was an afterthought – his volunteer work was strictly for the music. "I’m still not sure who I’m supporting for the election." 

A treat for fans
The Chili Peppers are on tour and playing huge arenas like the Q in June – so a concert at the intimate House of Blues is a big incentive for fans like 16-year old Emily Wargo of Shaker Heights. "I tweet them literally everyday and I have a poster on my wall that covers the entire wall and pretty much a walking billboard for the band because I love them so much."

Mucic and politics
Wargo and her friends go to high school at Hathaway Brown and are huge fans, but they also attended Sundays concert for the message, even if they aren’t old enough to vote. Another friend of the group, Lena Insohoff says rock and roll and politics are a good fit.

"When you think to back to like the ‘60’s and ‘70’s when like music was such a huge part of the political movement against things like Vietnam and just those kinds of political movements and the fact that we’re reviving that kind of support…I just…I love that I’m here right now."

The Red Hot Chili Peppers played 45 minutes of their hits at the House of Blues Sunday afternoon, pausing only to make brief comments in support of Mr. Obama. The Obama campaign says this is the first time a rock group has offered its support to the president this campaign. Mr. Obama will visit the Cleveland-area on Wednesday.  

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