Pop music star Kid Rock speaks before introducing Republican vice presidential… (Paul Sancya / Associated…)
It’s always a little jarring to see a pop culture wild child, complete with rap sheet and sex tape, talking up civic responsibility.
But Monday night as Kid Rock introduced GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan -- “a fellow hunter, a fellow fan of rock and roll” -- at Oakland University in suburban Detroit, he offered a slightly unexpected, mellow take on the election, at a moment when the political discourse is particularly poisonous.
The suburban Detroit-born rocker whose song “Born Free” has become Romney’s anthem, wore his trademark hat, brim pulled low, and was down-to-earth as he spoke for roughly five minutes, first urging people to vote (no matter whom they support) and lauding the country’s troops, whom he regularly entertains overseas in combat zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It is a little difficult to put myself in this position, knowing that it may alienate a few fans,” said Rock, 41, whose real name is Robert Ritchie. “But you know what, I really believe strongly that it's OK to disagree on politics -- and the direction of our country -- without hating one another.
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“I mean, it’s no secret that I’m embedded in an industry that leans very left, and I’ve listened to all the arguments and visions for our country. And don’t worry, I am not gonna give you a recap or stand up here and preach politics, like some of my friends in Hollywood,” he said. (He’s had plenty of experience living the bipartisan life; Rock was once married to Pamela Anderson. While there are conflicting reports about what caused their marital demise, some blamed the fact that he is an avid hunter and she is an animal rights activist.)
In a twist that took the crowd by surprise, at least judging by their initial silence, he added, “I also wanna be real clear that I’m very proud to say that we had elected our first black president.”
A smattering of applause broke out, then Rock added, “I’m sorry he didn’t do a better job. I really wish that he would have.
“But the facts are the facts, and we just saw them come to light at the last debate. With no outside BS, no biased media involved, no interruptions and negative political ads every five seconds, and most importantly, no damned teleprompter” – here, the crowd of several thousand applauded and cheered – “I enjoyed it so much, I think I might throw a keg party for the Ryan/Biden debate.”
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