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While Clay Aiken was sitting down with Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC to discuss the first day of his congressional candidacy, Ruben Studdard was sitting down with The Hollywood Reporter at the Daily Grill in Studio City. The topic of discussion was Studdard’s new album, Unconditional Love, released this week on the Verve label. But the conversation quickly turned to Aiken’s announcement that he was running to represent his North Carolina district in Washington, D.C.
“Clay is very passionate about the things he believes in,” Studdard replied when THR asked him about his fellow season two finalist. “If he wins the race, it could be the best thing that’s ever happened to his district. Not because of his celebrity but because of the things he cares about. It takes a special person to educate children with special needs and that’s what he did even before he was a celebrity. Right now in America, you either have money or you don’t. Clay has lived in both income levels and he’ll be able to effectively address the issues that impact the lives of people in his district.”
“I’m really proud of him,” he continued. “Proud that he’s brave enough to do this because when you run for public office, you open yourself up to a lot of criticism.”
And would Studdard be willing to help out with the campaign, especially with fundraising? “If Clay calls me, I’ll be there,” he says.
That may come as a surprise to some fans of the winner and runner-up of season two, who are still battling it out in cyberspace about who should have won that season of American Idol.
“I think it’s ridiculous that 10 years later people on the internet are still fussing with each other,” says Studdard. “Clay and I are clearly friends. It was great to go out on tour together. We had no idea our fans were like the Hatfields and the McCoys. Meanwhile, Clay and I are at Denny’s eating pancakes. Both of us had this amazing opportunity to be on a show that changed everybody’s lives and I wouldn’t change that experience for the world.”
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