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Originally published Friday, February 8, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Campaign Notebook

Rocker questions McCain's use of song

It may be "Our Country," but it's John Mellencamp's song. When the liberal rocker found out his songs were being played at events for Republican...

PHOENIX — It may be "Our Country," but it's John Mellencamp's song.

When the liberal rocker found out his songs were being played at events for Republican John McCain's presidential campaign, Mellencamp's publicist questioned the campaign's playlist.

"Are you sure you want to use his music to promote Senator McCain's efforts?" said the letter sent to McCain's campaign Monday. "Logic says that the facts might prove to be an embarrassment, were they to be circulated widely."

McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers in Washington, D.C., said Thursday the songs would be played no longer. He declined to elaborate.

The letter explained Mellencamp was a liberal who had supported Democrat John Edwards, who recently dropped out of the race. Mellencamp songs played at McCain's events included "Our Country" and "Pink Houses."

Meanwhile, will.i.am, frontman for the Black Eyed Peas, says he was inspired to create the song "Yes We Can" while watching Sen. Barack Obama's speech after his second-place finish to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the New Hampshire primary.

The song has become a viral video hit, with almost 1.9 million views on YouTube since being posted last Friday. Will.i.am says not hearing from the Obama camp doesn't bother him: "If they had time to call me, I'd be panicking."

Focus on Family head endorses Huckabee

James Dobson, one of the nation's most prominent evangelical Christian leaders, backed Mike Huckabee's presidential bid Thursday night.

In a statement, the founder of Focus on the Family said he could not in good conscience vote for John McCain, the front-runner, because of concerns over the Arizona senator's conservative credentials.

Dobson said he had been reluctant to choose between "two pro-family candidates whom I could support," Huckabee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. But Dobson wrote that Romney's suspension of his campaign Thursday "changed the political landscape."

Iowa governor backs Obama

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Gov. Chet Culver endorsed Barack Obama's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination during a rally Thursday in Omaha, Neb.

"Senator Obama has been fighting for ordinary folks ever since he was a community organizer," Culver said in a phone interview.

"I believe he will fight for those people as their next president."

Nebraska holds Democratic caucuses Saturday.

Culver's endorsement means he will support the Illinois senator as a superdelegate at the national convention in Denver.

Heart trouble can't stop Clinton backer

WASHINGTON — Even a "minor coronary incident," as her office describes it, couldn't prevent Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., from casting a vote for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Super Tuesday.

Lowey, 70, was released Wednesday from a Manhattan hospital where she was treated after collapsing at a rally for Clinton on Saturday.

However, Lowey made the deadline for absentee voting and voted for the Democratic presidential candidate from her hospital bed.

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