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Obama <3 Wilco

Updated 11:20 a.m.
By Perry Bacon Jr. and Paul Kane
CHICAGO -- Fans of the band Wilco can be assured Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is one of them.

"I love Wilco," he declared Friday night at a fundraiser for younger supporters at Lincoln Park club Park West, going for a "Shot in the Arm" with the hipster set.

Like Obama, the iconic Chicago-based alt-rockers have sought to redefine the rules of the game, eschewing the chance for commercial success and bedeviling record company executives in the process of building an enthusiastic, even cultish following.

Jeff Tweedy, the band's leader, also attended the event here, drawing fans of his music as well as Obama's politics. Unlike many of the fundraisers Obama has attended in recent days, where people have donated $2,300 to attend, this event only required a $100 contribution.

The band takes great pride in the Windy City, and local politicians reciprocate the feelings. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, is also a fan.

Wilco's ties to Obama pre-date his presidential campaign. In 2005 the senator introduced the group at a 20th anniversary Farm-Aid concert. And the senator and band appeared on NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" together when the show filmed in Chicago in 2006.

Wilco headlined a "Change Rocks" fundraiser in Chicago for Obama last December, and at a February 2008 concert in Washington's 9:30 Club, Tweedy introduced the song "The Thanks I Get" as the "Obama fight song." It's refrain is "We can make it better."

A few nights later the band got the coveted guest music slot on "Saturday Night Live," but -- in a last-minute twist -- shared the bill with surprise guest Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Obama's primary opponent.

For Obama and Wilco fans looking for insight into their schedule, Wilco is currently on a tour that conveniently wraps up its U.S. leg in San Francisco Aug. 24, the day before the start of the Democratic convention in Denver. The band doesn't have another show scheduled until Aug. 29, in Ireland, after the convention concludes -- so an appearance in Denver by Obama's favorite Chicago band is not out of the question.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 12, 2008; 10:44 AM ET
Categories:  The Green Zone  
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