The kickoff for the nonpartisan, “No Labels” political movement Monday morning drew roughly 1,000 people — including marquee politicians from across the political spectrum — to Columbia University but lost some wattage when hip-hop star Akon missed the gig and couldn’t perform his “No Labels Anthem.”
Akon reportedly got caught in the winter storm across the Midwest. Still, fans of Akon or political harmony can download the song here
“See a man with a blue tie, see a man with a red tie; so how about we tie ourselves together and get it done,” sings Akon, who stayed up all night to create the song after hearing about No Labels, according to the group’s website.
The non-profit group — whose motto is “Not Left. Not Right. Forward” — is attempting to end, or at least curb, what it sees as partisan fighting getting in the way of solving America’s problems including high unemployment and a rising national debt.
The 501 (c) 4 group — whose leaders including Democratic insider Nancy Jacobson, GOP strategist Mark McKinnon, both volunteers — says it is not a political party and does not support candidates.
However, leaders have left open the possibility that they would form an political action committee that can operate in the 2012 primary races of members who get challenged by the “ideological extremes of either party.”
Among the speakers Monday were New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, an independent, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, a Democrat, and outgoing Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware, a Republican.
Among the many concerns discusses was how the huge amount of money from political action groups influenced the midterms, something Mr. Castle and outgoing Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida, another scheduled speaker Monday, know something about.
One of the highlights was Ms. Gillibrand talking about her efforts toward bipartisanship on the issue of earmarks. “I never thought [conservative GOP Sen.] Tom Coburn and I could come together,” she said.