The Ticket

‘Santorum Girls’ video going viral, old-school style

The Ticket

After meeting Rick Santorum a few days before Oklahoma's Super Tuesday primary, Tulsa resident David Harris had an idea: his musically inclined family should compose a campaign song for the candidate.

By Monday morning, the Harris family band—known as First Love—had written and recorded "Game On," an infectious, catchy two-and-a-half minute tribute to Santorum with lead vocals from Camille, 20, and Haley, 18. The Harris family shot a music video outside their church and debuted the song on YouTube.

The Harris parents are both pastors at the Jubilee Christian Center. They have eight children between the ages of 5 and 22, who have been homeschooled and enrolled at a religious academy. Like Rick Santorum, their political convictions are deeply influenced by their Christian faith.

Camille composed the beginning of the refrain ("we've finally got a man/who will stand for wrong and right") in the car after meeting Santorum, and the family pieced together the rest of the lyrics from campaign talking points. The result includes such lines as "there will be justice for the unborn / factories back on our shores."

The video now has 73,000 views, with the promise of many more as news organizations flock to the family. David Harris, speaking Thursday morning on the way home from a family appearance on the local Fox affiliate's morning show, told Yahoo News the Santorum campaign has contacted them about the possibility of performing live at future campaign events.

"We're waiting to hear from them," he said, noting the family already has a tour bus.

YouTube is only seven years old, but stars like the Harris family already seem like a throwback to the last campaign cycle. Five years ago, when the 2008 primaries were getting underway, many observers foresaw a "Web 2.0" election in which user-generated content drove powerful online organizing efforts. That election cycle produced such grassroots stars as Amber Lee Ettinger, better known as "Obama Girl," but they have largely been eclipsed by centralized social media efforts that are campaign-controlled.

The "Santorum Girls" video, however, has gone viral in the original meaning of the word: It started out small, with only 300-some views on Tuesday night (though YouTube lags somewhat in updating those figures). It had reached 7,000 by mid-day Wednesday, and 40,000 by Thursday morning—the sort of exponential growth that, if sustained, can project a video to astronomical numbers of views.

Like most newly minted Internet stars, both David and Camille expressed shock at the ruthless vitriol of the comments section. "What exactly are they hating?" David said of the video, which oozes with wholesomeness. While the band is fronted by Camille and Haley, most of the family appears in the video on one instrument or another, down to the youngest on the ukulele. "She only knows three notes, so she plays them over and over," Camille explained.

While on the phone, Camille realized it was her brother Wesley's 15th birthday.

"It's been a little overshadowed by this video," she said. "Love you, Wesley."

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