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3:09 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

Celebrity Endorsements: What Happens When Reality TV And Politics Collide

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 12:46 pm

On a day where Newt Gingrich picked up the endorsement of former "first dude" Todd Palin of Alaska, there are plenty of other celebrity endorsements to go around.

While Sarah Palin has not endorsed any presidential candidate this election season, ABC News and other media outlets report her husband and former reality TV hopeful, Todd, did just that, saying Gingrich has shown he's a political survivor.

Todd is not the only celebrity husband to pick a side.

Reality TV star Jim Bob Duggar showed up in Iowa in support of Rick Santorum.

"He's somebody that believes in lower taxes, less government intervention in our lives. He's somebody that stands for what's right and we're just behind him 100 percent," Dugger told a blogger in Iowa.

Duggar's wife, Michelle also created a video supporting the former Pennsylvania senator, posting it on their family's blog.

The parents of "19 Kids and Counting," which is also the name of their TLC reality show, say they like the strong religious faith of the former Pennsylvania senator.

Now, Duggar is not a political novice, he went public with his support for Mike Huckabee in 2008.

But some of his fellow celebrity endorsers are new to the game. Kelly Clarkson found herself in the political spotlight for a tweet endorsing Ron Paul.

"I was like sitting at home with my brother watching Leno... and I was like, 'Man, I like this dude.' I liked him the last time around... All the stuff he's going for, regardless the topic, he's all for states' rights. And I think that that's very important," Clarkson told NPR's Guy Raz.

Libertarian Ron Paul, in fact, is feeling a lot of love from Hollywood types. Or make that Carson City, Nev. types.

"What I like about Ron Paul is... the fact that he can recognize that what works for one person in their own individual community is not what is going to work blanketed across the entire country," said Cami Parker, star of HBO's "Cathouse" series.

Parker and her colleagues, who work at a legal brothel in Nevada, launched a "Pimpin' for Paul" campaign.

"Any customer who comes into the Bunny Ranch who says, 'I'm Pimpin' for Paul' gets a great discount off his party. There's over 500 girls licensed here and we all vote as a block. So we're hoping that people will listen to us because we do have a voice," said Parker.

Meanwhile, singer Kid Rock is keeping his options open.

He's allowed Mitt Romney to use his tune "Born Free" as a campaign anthem.

But, Kid Rock said on his blog, that doesn't mean he's endorsing Romney — he'd let any candidate use the song.

Though he did say any candidate bold enough to adopt another song of his — "So Hott" — has a good shot at winning his vote.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Primary season is in full swing, and that means the Republican presidential candidates are wooing not only voters but also high-profile endorsements. So far this season, celebrity endorsers have brought a little punch to the campaign trail - and a lot of levity.SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: I am confident, with the leadership and the backing of the American people, President Obama will turn this country around. We believe in America. We believe that our best days are ahead of us. President...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: President Romney, Senator.

MCCAIN: Excuse me, President Romney. President Romney.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: President Romney (makes noise).

BLOCK: The surging campaign of former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum got a very different endorsement ahead of the Iowa caucuses. It came from the world of reality TV.

JIM BOB DUGGAR: I'm Jim Bob Duggar with "19 Kids and Counting." And I've got with me - I've got - here is Jill and Josh and Jinger. And we have brought 12 of our 19 children here to Iowa to help, hopefully, put Rick Santorum over the top.

: Duggar is no political novice. He publicly backed Mike Huckabee in 2008. But some of his fellow celebrity endorsers are new to the game.

REP. RON PAUL: Does anybody here know the name Kelly Clarkson?

: You might have heard of her, the pop singer and "American Idol" winner. That's Texas congressman Ron Paul, talking about what it was like to win Kelly Clarkson's Twitter endorsement. In this case, Clarkson may have gotten as much out of it as he did.

PAUL: She endorsed me a couple weeks ago, and something happened because - I have to admit, I didn't know a whole lot about her, but I do know that our supporters were so enthusiastic about it, they went up and bumped up her sales - of her records - by 600 percent.

BLOCK: As Kelly Clarkson told NPR's Guy Raz, her endorsement of Ron Paul was really done on a lark.

KELLY CLARKSON: I was like, sitting at home with my brother watching "Leno," and I was like, man - I was like, I like this dude. I liked him the last time around. All the stuff he's going for is like, whether - whatever, regardless the topic, he's all for states' rights, and I think that that's very important.

BLOCK: Ron Paul, in fact, is feeling a lot of love from Hollywood types - or make that Carson City, Nevada, types. Add to the list Cami Parker, star of the HBO reality series "Cathouse." She's a legal prostitute at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch.

CAMI PARKER: What I like about Ron Paul is the fact that he can recognize that what works for one person in their own, individual community is not what is going to work blanketed across the entire country. And the right for each individual community to do what works for them is really, really smart.

BLOCK: Parker and her fellow working girls even launched a Pimpin' for Paul campaign.

PARKER: Any customer that comes into the Bunny Ranch and says, I'm pimping for Paul, gets a great discount off his party. And there's over 500 girls licensed here, and we all vote as a bloc. So we're hoping that people will listen to us because we do have a voice.

BLOCK: Finally, rock star Kid Rock has allowed Mitt Romney to use his song "Born Free" as a campaign anthem.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BORN FREE")

KID ROCK: (Singing) Free, like a river raging. Strong is the wind I'm facing. Chasing dreams and racing father time.

BLOCK: But Kid Rock wrote on his blog that doesn't mean he's endorsing Romney. He says any candidate can use the song - though he did say any contender bold enough to use another song of his, called "So Hott," has a good shot at winning his vote.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SO HOTT")

KID ROCK: (Singing) I can tell you're trouble, but I'm still obsessed. Because you know you're so hott, I wanna get you alone.

BLOCK: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.