Any time your video gets more than 5 million views on YouTube, chances are, the spoofs are just around the corner. Just a week after Will.I.Am released his musical homage to Senator Barack Obama's "Yes We Can" speech, a pair of parodies popped up, both of which target Republican presidential front-runner Senator John McCain.
Using the same stark black-and-white imagery and softly strummed acoustic guitar, the first spoof out of the gate opens with footage of McCain talking grimly about the sacrifices required in a time of war as a series of regular folks sing or speak along with him. That is, until he says, "I'm sorry to tell you, there are gonna be other wars," at which point the guy talking along says, "What?"
The video makes use of McCain's famous off-the-cuff April 2007 remark in which he answered a question about Iran by singing, "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" to the tune of the Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann," which elicits a series of puzzled looks from the spoof-video singers. By the time they get to the clip of McCain talking about President Bush's comment that we may stay in Iraq for 50 or 100 years — and McCain says we may be there for 10,000 — the singers begin to look around, a mother covers her child's eyes, one man hyperventilates and the guitarist walks off. The clip ends with the words "Iraq withdrawal date: 12008," followed by "Good luck with that in November." The last image reads, "McCain 08 ... Like Hope, But Different."
Not to be outdone, BarelyPolitical.com, the same people who gave us Obama Girl, has weighed in with its own clip, "No, You Can't." Using the same black-and-white look and Benetton-ad-worthy group of unknown multicultural singers, the clip opens as if it is an inspirational video about McCain uniting the nation. But the first words out of McCain's mouth are "You can't do it, my friend," followed by the Arizona senator saying he'd be fine with staying in Iraq for 100 years, after which a woman wails, "That's a damn century!"
Ben Relles, who runs the site, said he came up with the idea as soon as he saw the original Obama video, and contacted his friend Lee Stranahan, a film editor/ political junkie in Los Angeles who immediately found the "you can't do it" quote to kick the clip off. Relles lamented that he sat on his McCain video for almost a week because of other projects, which allowed the other clip to debut on YouTube a few hours before Barely Political's. But, he said, "No, You Can't" has gotten more than 100,000 views since hitting the Internet on Monday morning.
"Once we saw how big that [Obama] video got, we knew it was ripe for a spoof," said Relles, who added that a similar spoof of the now-infamous Tom Cruise Scientology video is due out any day now. "The way the words were used lends itself to satire, and you could see how some people would react and say that video was incredibly powerful and moving, and others would say, 'There's a lot of celebrities in there taking themselves too seriously.' "
One of the running gags in the Barely Political video is a line from McCain about immigration, where he challenges an audience by saying he'll pay anyone $50 an hour to pick lettuce in Yuma, Arizona, for a whole season. The singers raise their hands to volunteer as we hear McCain again intone, "You can't do it, my friend," followed by the "Bomb Iran" bit.
Taking a direct shot at Obama's "Yes You Can" speech, the screen then goes black, and the words "John McCain will unite one nation, under contempt, with three words" appear, followed by phrases that the singers respond to by chanting, "No, you can't!": "Can I get affordable health care?" "Can I come home from Iraq?" "Can I get married if I'm gay?" "Hey, can I still get that $50/hour for picking lettuce?"
As it fades to black, McCain tells an unseen inquisitor, "Thanks for the question, you little jerk."