Music to the Candidates’ Ears

LifeZette reveals songs the presidential contenders listen to on the trail

Ever wonder what the presidential candidates listen to while they travel the country? Planes, buses, waiting, waiting. Gotta’ be something.

Do they have a specific pump-up song they rock out to before interviews or debates or stem-winding speeches? What’s piping through their ear-buds?

All the candidates have their own style, mission and voice. It’s only natural that they have their own tastes in music, too. So let’s run through the lot (and there’s a lot).

Businessman Donald Trump, in his typical fashion, not only has his own eclectic taste, he knows the artists personally. One is Neil Young.

“I love Neil Young, and he loves me! We have a great relationship,” Trump said of his “buddy.”

Trump did want to make it clear that he is aware Young is “a very liberal guy.” Clearly political leanings play no part in Trump’s taste in music, and perhaps this is a sign of his ability to reach across the political aisle.

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s favorite music is fairly obvious to anyone who has followed his campaign or history at all. In typical Garden State fashion, Christie loves Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. He has publicly commented countless times on his love for the artists, including during an interview with LifeZette. Bruce’s return love, uh, not so much.

Related: Christie Plays ‘This or That’

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush reportedly has decided that his favorite type of music is Christian music. But he also has an affinity for the bilingual artist Pitbull, whose real name is Armando Christian Pérez. It’s a diverse choice of genres, but Bush needs something to psyche him up for his events as well as calm him down at the end of a long day campaigning.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s love for music was prominently displayed during his presidential campaign kick-off event in Detroit. It seems Carson’s family is musically gifted. His wife, Candy, played the national anthem on the violin. But during the event, a gospel choir sang Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” An odd choice.

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When former Secretary of State Hillary “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” Clinton was asked about her music taste, she stuck to the artists of her youth: “Everything I grew up with — the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, the Who and the Doors. I mean, all of that, plus I like classical music because I find it relaxing when I’m thinking about stressful things.” Like deleting emails.

Of all the candidates, Sen. Marco Rubio, the fresh-scrubbed baby-faced senator from Florida, is well-known for his love of hip-hop.

“The only guy that speaks at any sort of depth is, in my mind, Eminem,” Rubio said. “He’s a guy that does music that talks about the struggles of addiction and before that violence, with growing up in a broken family, not being a good enough father.”

Rubio also likes JayZ, Nicki Minaj, Pitbull, Tupac and others. Reportedly, his three favorite songs are N.W.A.’s “Straight Outta Compton,” Tupac Shakur’s “Killuminati,” and Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” (Just don’t say out loud what N.W.A. stands for. Please.)

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is particularly unique in his taste of music. He’s not only a fan, he’s a performer, sort of — he plays bass. His band is known as Capitol Offense, formed from members of his staff in 1996. He said the name came about because “in the course of our playing … we offend just about everybody.”

He has played “Pour Some Sugar on Me” with Def Leppard on his Fox News show, and his band has played a number of songs including “Free Bird” on the campaign trail. Let’s hope not the 12-minute version.

In an interview, Ohio Gov. John Kasich confirmed he listens to Christian music, but also likes a mix of different genres. “I like Linkin Park. I like U2. I like a lot of different bands. I like some of the stuff that Justin Timberlake does.” Some. Don’t we all.

He also said he used to be a fan of Kanye West, but has since changed his mind on that one. When Kasich is on the campaign trail, he prefers to listen to beautiful, soothing Christian music. Not so Kanye there.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s favorite songs are “Born to Run” and “Jungleland” by Bruce Springsteen, “Thousands Are Sailing” by The Pogues, and “Green and Red of Mayo” by the Saw Doctors. And he’s a rocker. He founded O’Malley’s March, which is  an American Celtic and folk rock band. Well, rocker wannabe.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky told LifeZette his favorite band is Chumbawamba. But they were active from 1980 to 2012. He might need to find, you know, some contemporary music. He also likes the song “Shutting Detroit Down” by John Rich. Yeah, that was 2009. Time to Spotify, RP. Check out, say, Jamie XX. You’ll like them.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ taste in music runs the spectrum.

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“I love music, I really do. On my iPad here, you’ll have the complete works of Ludwig van Beethoven,” the 73-year-old Sanders told Rolling Stone. “On the other hand, I’m a big fan of Willie Nelson, and I like country music. Willie came up some years ago and campaigned for me, we had a great time, and I love his music. I would say I was shaped, my music was shaped in the ’60s by Motown, by the Supremes, by the Temptations.”

Perhaps Bernie and Willie will blow a bone together “On the Road Again.”

According to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s Facebook page, he enjoys everything and anything when it comes to music. It also specifies that he does like country music. Good luck in Texas, buddy. Oh, and the South. They kinda’ like that music down there.

Jim Gilmore’s campaign has confirmed the former Virginia governor’s favorite band is Steely Dan and his favorite song is “Deacon Blues.” He also likes Elton John and Carly Simon. According to his official Facebook page, he also enjoys listening to classical composer Gustav Mahler. Mahler died in 1911. Steely Dan, John and Simon were hot in the 1970s and ’80s. Time to update, JGill.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas used to be a fan of classic rock music, but that all changed on Sept. 11, 2001. Apparently, he shifted to country music because of how the community responded to the terrorist attacks. “These are my people,” he said.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania sent us his favorite playlist for the campaign trail. Honestly, he’s one of the more well-rounded candidates when it comes to music. He’s got some classic rock, country, pop, and the classics. Most people would listen to this playlist:

  1. “Allentown” by Billy Joel
  2. “Miracle Drug” by U2
  3. “Take Back America” by The Take Back America Band
  4. “Made In America” by Toby Keith
  5. “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay
  6. “Your Grace is Enough” by Matt Maher
  7. “At Long Last Love” by Frank Sinatra
  8. “Smile” by Nat King Cole
  9. “You Found Me” by The Fray
  10. “All of Me” by John Legend
  11. “Sarah Maria” by James Taylor
  12. “Make Your Own Kind of Music” by the Mamas and the Papas
  13. “God’s Will” by Martina McBride
  14. “When the Stars Go Blue” by Tim McGraw
  15. “Alright” by Darius Rucker
  16. “Blackbird” by The Beatles

But maybe the list’s all for show. A little too perfect, isn’t it?

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s playlist includes Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Neil Young, Ian Tyson, Joni Mitchell and Taj Mahal, with a bit of Tchaikovsky thrown in. Another well-rounded candidate. And he’s running for what, again?

Lindsey Graham’s campaign has confirmed the senator from South Carolina enjoys listening to anything Motown, but particularly enjoys “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King. It seems that Graham is a fan of the pop classics and the 1960s sounds of his youth.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina‘s favorite bands, according to her official Facebook page, are The Doobie Brothers, Hall and Oates and The Eagles. You can bet she listened to Joe Walsh before taking on the first GOP presidential debate.

When asked about what song he would use for his campaign song prior to entering the race, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal chose “Eye of the Tiger” by the band Survivor. It was also the theme song from the movie “Rocky.” Clearly, Jindal has his eye on the prize and is hoping to convince everyone he is willing to fight for it.

When George Pataki is driving up to his farm in upstate New York, he enjoys listening to Bruce Springsteen, country music, and western music.

Throughout his public career, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been asked a few times about what he has on his iPod. His favorite artists include The Who, Pink Floyd, Clay Walker, and Beethoven.

But not in that order.

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