Rock the Vote

If you can't carry the vote, at least try to carry a tune

Posted April 28, 2016 at 1:52pm

When Sen. Ted Cruz announced Carly Fiorina as his running mate, she spoke of how well she has gotten to know Cruz’s daughters, Catherine and Caroline, and sang a nursery rhyme.  

Fiorina isn’t the first candidate to show off their musical talent — or lack thereof — on the campaign trial.

Mike Huckabee jams with Def Leppard


Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is also a ordained Southern Baptist minister. He touts himself as a socially conservative bulwark — in high school, he recommended  Christian teens avoid dancing. He also chided the Obamas for allowing their daughters  to listen to Beyoncé.  

But Huckabee is also a bassist and a fan of rock ’n’ roll music. His band Capitol Offense even played at the 2001 and 2005 inaugural balls. Huckabee has jammed with artists like Phil Collen of Def Leppard and bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd  on his Fox News show.  

As governor, Huckabee pardoned legendary Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, who had been busted for reckless driving, though Richards was dismissive of Huckabee’s music skills.

John Kerry flip-flops on instruments


During his 2004 presidential campaign, John Kerry was accused of switching positions when convenient. The secretary of state and former Democratic nominee for president also switches between bass and guitar.  

When he was in high school, Kerry played bass in a band called the Electras and they even had a record where they covered “Summertime Blues .” Kerry’s candidacy made the albums a collectors’ item .  

In addition, Kerry occasionally plays Spanish guitar and was gifted one  from Spain’s foreign minister.

Rick Perry jams with some sharp-dressed men


Former Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry famously imploded when during a debate he could not remember the names of the federal agencies he would eliminate. But he doesn’t miss a beat on drums.  

At a 2005 inaugural party for President George W. Bush, another former Texas governor, Perry sat in and played drums with the most famous Little Ol’ Band from Texas, ZZ Top.

Bill Clinton on the saxophone


Bill Clinton playing the saxophone is probably the most iconic of all. During his 1992 run for president against incumbent President George H.W. Bush, Gov. Clinton appeared  on the Arsenio Hall show and covered “Heartbreak Hotel.”  

Clinton had considered being a professional musician but said in his memoirs that he thought could never be as great as John Coltrane or Stan Getz.  

Contact Garcia at and follow him on Twitter @EricMGarcia.