COLUMBUS – President Obama deployed a double-dose of star power for his Ohio campaign finale, using performances by legendary rocker Bruce Springsteen and rapper Jay-Z to energize the crowd of about 15,000 just over 12 hours before the first election day polls open across the state.
Jay-Z, a longtime Obama backer and fundraiser, brought down the house with a bone-shaking and deafeningly loud set of his hits that included a censored rendition of “99 Problems,” replacing the word “b***” with “Mitt.”
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“They told me no colorful language. So I brought two songs. I have to do it, I’m sorry,” Jay-Z joked upon taking the stage. “I changed the lyric of the song. It goes like this – so let’s do it real fast before they come up here” and take the mic away.
“99 problems but Mitt ain’t one. If you’re having girl problems I feel bad for you son,” he sang in the chorus refrain. “I got 99 problems but Mitt ain’t one…” The audience roared.
It should be noted that in a radio interview last month, Obama was asked whether “99 Problems” is on his iPod – a question he tactfully avoided, perhaps aware how the explicit lyrics might be interpreted by some women. “You know, I gotta say I go with some other stuff like ‘My First Song,’ which just kinda keeps me steady,” Obama said at the time.
The uncensored refrain of “99 Problems” is:
99 Problems but a b**** ain’t one If you havin’ girl problems I feel bad for you son I got 99 problems but a b**** ain’t one hit me.
The star-studded campaign finale for Obama in Ohio also included a more reflective and politically-thematic performance by legendary rocker Bruce Springsteen, who has been joining Obama on Air Force One during his final swing through the battleground states.
Springsteen joked that he gets late-night phone calls from Obama, who sings covers to him over the phone indicative of his mood.
After the first presidential debate, he said Obama called at 2 a.m. singing a rendition of the Rolling Stone’s “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” Three weeks later, after the final debate, he was singing LMFAO’s “I’m Too Sexy, and I Know It,” he kidded.
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“I believe the president has musical aspirations which is why I’m anxious to get him elected for four more years,” Springsteen said. “Got to keep the competition.”
Obama heaped praise on his surrogates upon taking stage, telling his supporters music from both artists is on his iPod.
“Not only are they all on my iPod – and yes, the president has an iPod – but it’s also because both of them tell an American story,” he said. “I told Jay-Z the other day our lives are parallel a little bit… both of us now have daughters… and both of us have wives who are more popular than we are.”