Waterloo, Iowa — Paul Begala once told me that a “presidential campaign is like a film. It never comes together until it’s scored and tracked.” I thought of that on Sunday night as Rep. Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.) exited the Electric Park Ballroom, a few cornfields from her childhood home in this small Midwestern town.
As Bachmann shook hands with supporters, Tom Petty’s “American Girl” blasted. The tune, as any FM listener knows, has one of rock’s best opening riffs. The guitar lick noodles and bounces then crests as Petty launches into the chorus. The pulsing beat, the yearning lyrics — all of it seems tailor-made for a presidential campaign, especially for a House member looking to make a splash in the heartland. “Take it easy, baby,” he croons. “Make it last.”
Well, it looks like the Bachmann-Petty Overdrive was a one-night wonder. NBC News reports that Petty’s manager will soon ask Bachmann to stop playing the hit, pronto. Hillary Clinton, of course, played the track throughout her 2008 presidential campaign.