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Buffett Music Video Appearance Haunted Bob Graham’s VP Vetting

June 21st, 2012

Did an appearance in a Jimmy Buffett music video cost former Florida senator Bob Graham the nomination to be Michael Dukakis’ vice president? Probably not, but it did scare those that were doing the vetting:

Then a first-term U.S. senator and former two-term governor of Florida, Graham was under close consideration by Democratic presidential nominee-to-be Michael Dukakis in 1988. Political strategists, legal counsel, an accountant and a private detective gave him a thorough going-over, he recalled in a recent interview.

They didn’t find any skeletons in his closet, Graham said, but someone came across the Buffett video for the 1984 song “Who’s the Blonde Stranger?” about adulterous affairs. Graham makes a cameo as a drink-holding, grinning businessman about to hook up with a waitress. Graham said he joined the filming at short notice on a request by his friend Buffett, who co-founded with Graham an effort to protect and save manatees, the endangered sea mammal.

“They kept hammering away about it,” Graham recounted. And the accountant wanted to know why Graham hadn’t recorded his payment for the appearance – Graham explained there wasn’t one; it was a favor for a friend.

“Playing in the video may not have been the best judgment in the world, but I finally became irritated at the questioning about what I considered a trivial incident,” he said.

Everything else went fine, he said, but Dukakis chose veteran Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas. In 1992, Graham got a call from Bill Clinton asking him to come to Washington. They had a long pleasant interview, Graham said, but Clinton went with Al Gore.

Watch the “Who’s the Blonde Stranger” video:

Tagged in Politics, Videos