How Justin Bieber Became a Campaign Talking Point

The rambunctious teen pop star’s name has made its way into a Senate race in Virginia.

Singer Justin Bieber.
National Journal
Marina Koren
Feb. 4, 2014, 1:22 p.m.

Sen. Mark Warner made head­lines Tues­day when he de­clared that he is not, in fact, a Be­lieber — and he’s in fa­vor of de­port­ing the eponym­ous pop star for run­ning in­to trouble with the law.

The Demo­crat from Vir­gin­ia told FM 99 that he wants to add his name to a white­ pe­ti­tion that calls for the de­port­a­tion of the Ca­na­dian sing­er Justin Bieber, who was ar­res­ted for driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence last month. “As a dad with three daugh­ters, is there some place I can sign?” Warner said.

At the time of this writ­ing, the pe­ti­tion is near­ing 250,000 sig­na­tures, well over the 100,000 threshold that prompts a form­al re­sponse from the White House. Press sec­ret­ary Jay Car­ney said last week that such a re­sponse will come “re­l­at­ively soon.”

So­cial me­dia quickly lit up with the cries of hun­dreds fol­low­ing Warner’s re­marks: some of them, for whom the song “Baby” is not real mu­sic, in sup­port of Warner; oth­ers, mostly teen­age ad­mirers, in de­fense of the sing­er. And then, it got real — Sen­ate race-real.

The cam­paign for Ed Gillespie, the former White House aide who is chal­len­ging Warner for his seat this year, slammed the in­cum­bent Thursday in a note titled, “Sen­at­or Warner, It’s Time To Get Ser­i­ous.”

“Vir­gini­ans are los­ing jobs, los­ing hours at work, los­ing wages, and at risk of be­ing dropped from the health care plans they like. Since Ed entered the race for Sen­ate, Mark Warner hasn’t found time to talk about the Af­ford­able Care Act and its dis­astrous con­sequences on Twit­ter,” the mes­sage read. “But what is Mark Warner wor­ried about today? You won’t be­lieve it. Justin Bieber.”

The post in­cluded a tweet from Warner that read “It’s true. I’m not a #Be­lieber.”

Last week, Bieber made it in­to a press brief­ing by the White House press sec­ret­ary. This week, he’s be­come a talk­ing point in a con­gres­sion­al cam­paign. Wheth­er he can swing any voters re­mains to be seen.

What We're Following See More »
Poll: Three-Quarters of Americans Support LGBT Protections
1 hours ago

A new poll by the Public Religion Research Institute "found 72 percent of Americans now favor passing laws to protect lesbian, gay and transgender people from discrimination, including three-quarters of Democrats and two-thirds of Republicans." A majority also opposes "bathroom bills," of the kind passed by North Carolina.

Trump Not on Ballot in Minnesota
21 hours ago
Trump on Immigration: ‘I Don’t Know, You Tell Me’
1 days ago

Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”

Trump Enriching His Businesses with Donor Money
2 days ago

Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.

Trump Cancels Rallies
3 days ago

Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.