I Sing the Body Elected

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When Bill Daley took over last summer as Al Gore's campaign chairman, one of the first phone calls he made was to Greg Simon, who had been chief policymeister to the vice president from Gore's days in the Senate and who had left government to apply his expertise in the far more lucrative world of lobbying. Daley knew how to run a campaign, but he didn't know the candidate all that well; he wanted Simon to join the campaign, unpaid, to join Gore on Air Force Two for the duration. So now Simon is back as the ranking Road Warrior, bringing discipline to the campaign operation on the road, bringing a comfort level to the candidate himself and, finally, addressing the campaign's glaring need for... a balladeer?

Unbeknownst to most people who have known him in the power corridors of Washington, Simon was once a drummer in a rock band. (Come to think of it, so was Tipper. Coincidence?) Over the past week and a half, Simon has applied his long-dormant talents to writing a daily theme song for the amusement of Gore's traveling entourage. On Sunday night, for instance, as reporters at the rear of Air Force Two were polishing off their filet mignon (the food's improved since Simon's arrival — coincidence?) he donned sunglasses, and to a handheld tape recorder playing the tune of "Louie, Louie," Simon howled:

    "Al and Joe-y, whooooa, whoa, we got the mo'.
    Al and Joe-y, whoooa, whoa, we got the mo'.
    For what is right, for families they fight,
    Except for Joe on Friday night, Not like Bush-Cheney, whose campaign's so light, Al and Joe-y, whooooa, whoa, we got the mo'."

And so it went for several more verses, culminating with an interpolation of all the polls that are finally showing the Vice President ahead. Gore himself had requested the "Louie, Louie" rip-off as a challenge to Simon's songwriting abilities. (And just as with the original version of the song, this reporter had trouble deciphering the exact lyrics from her tape. Coincidence?)

Earlier efforts included Simon's anthem of sympathy for the hard lot of the press pool, that rotating cadre of reporters, cameramen and soundmen who must stay with the candidate nearly every waking moment, from 5 a.m. network interviews to late-night fund-raisers. (To the tune of "Happy Together": "Imagine being pool, we do. We think about it day and night. It's only right...")

Simon started writing the songs on September 3, marking the fact that there were 66 days left to the election with a song to the tune of — what else — "Route 66." And of course, there was a "Sounds of Simon." Simon has vowed to write a new one every day between now and Election Day. That's 56 days and counting.

Well, let's see, there's "56 Days on the Road"....