With a few hours before the first of two presidential debates, a political ad flap broke out over a satirical video from Mike Huckabee’s campaign that riffs off the hit Adele song “Hello.”
The tongue-in-cheek video features a female singer belting out an Iowa-themed song, to the tune of the hit single.
“Hello, Sioux City,” the Adele imitator croons, over images of Huckabee hard at work on the Iowa campaign trail. It ends: “Hello from the caucus night. If Bernie wins I'm going to die. This crazy circus, it's gone cuckoo-cachoo. And Huckabee is the guy who's long overdue.”
But Huckabee told Fox Business Network’s Neil Cavuto that the spoof ended up being “pulled down from YouTube.”
The former Arkansas governor said he’s not sure anyone representing Adele has contacted the campaign, but defended the video and said it is staying on the campaign’s Facebook page.
“This is protected free speech under the First Amendment, because it’s political parody,” he said.
Then again, he said, “If I pick up my phone and I hear Adele saying, ‘hello, it’s me,’ I’ll take the call, you bet.”
Huckabee, enjoying some additional media attention out of his video, will be one of four GOP candidates in the evening presidential debate Thursday, hosted by Fox News and Google in Des Moines.
He’ll be joined onstage by former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore.
Afterward, seven top-polling candidates will face off in the prime-time debate at 9 p.m. ET – though Donald Trump plans to sit it out.
The seven candidates on the prime-time stage are: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; Ohio Gov. John Kasich; and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus described the controversy over a campaign’s music selection as “very common.”
“The copyright stuff comes up, I think, every campaign … it happens all the time,” he told Fox News.
As for the upcoming debate, Priebus said: “I think it’s going to be a big night … and I expect it to be very important for the people in Iowa.”