Newman sings politics at Macworld Expo


SAN FRANCISCO -- Amid iPod upgrades, movie deals and Apple TV price cuts, there was a tinge of politics at the Macworld Conference & Expo.

But it didn't come from Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs. The man electing to wade into political waters Tuesday was the musical guest, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Randy Newman.

Newman and his piano were rolled out on a moving stage and he quickly launched into his song, "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country."

"I'd like to say a few words in defense of our country, whose people aren't bad, nor are they mean/ Now the leaders we have, while they're the worst that we've had, are hardly the worst this poor world has seen," Newman sang to a packed conference hall.

His performance briefly injected a serious tone to an otherwise upbeat presentation by Jobs, and the audience of Mac faithful applauded -- though not quite as loudly as they had for the unveiling of Apple's new online movie rental service.

Out on the exhibitor floor, political messages were few, though a small startup called Budclicks, a Poway, Calif.-based company, jumped in.

To the snap-on charms it makes to gussy up the ubiquitous iPod earbuds, it has added nuggets bearing the names of presidential candidates -- at least the ones still in the game. Right alongside skulls, daisies and pink pineapples.

"They're dropping out like flies right now. Currently we've got Obama, Mitt, Hillary, Ron Paul," said Budclicks owner, Brian Johnson. "All the candidates want to get to the youth, and all the youth have the iPods. They're kitschy."

Not to mention catchy.