- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Looking for a little bipartisan love this Christmas season after the smoke and noise of an endless election year?

Look no further than “Ocean’s Twelve,” the sequel to the blockbuster remake “Ocean’s Eleven,” but this time the caper has Danny Ocean’s band of crooks trying to outfox European thieves.

The movie’s soundtrack includes “Souls Along the Way,” a love song that Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, the conservative Republican from Utah, wrote for Edward M. and Victoria Kennedy. Yes, that Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts liberal from the opposite end of the political spectrum.

“Oh, Ted is a good friend,” Mr. Hatch says from his home in Utah. “I wrote it for him and his wife a few years back.”

Mr. Kennedy says it’s a beautiful song.

“I hope it wins an Oscar. I can’t wait to see which of Orrin’s songs they use in ‘Ocean’s Thirteen.’ ”

The straight-laced Mormon senator from Salt Lake City is something of a rock star with more than 300 songs to his name.

Mr. Hatch took up the piano as a little boy and began writing poetry as a student at Brigham Young University. Mixing those two hobbies with his deep faith has led to albums such as “Jesus’ Love is Like a River,” “How His Glory Shines,” “Heal Our Land” and “A Prayer for Our Country” — not exactly the usual fare from the recording studios.

But as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Hatch has had extensive dealings with recording artists and industry executives seeking stricter copyright protections for intellectual property. Mr. Hatch, who is surrendering the committee gavel because of term limits, has become such an advocate of copyright protections that he once speculated that it might be fitting to blow up the computers of geeks who illegally download music through the Internet.

“Ocean’s Twelve” is not Mr. Hatch’s first appearance on the silver screen. In 2002, his song “Little Angel of Mine” made the soundtrack of “Stuart Little 2.”

Unlike that song, “Souls Along the Way” will not be included on the movie’s soundtrack sold in stores — meaning Mr. Hatch will miss out on any royalties. But not to worry, he’s earned thousands of dollars though his recording hobby over the years.

And it’s not just religious music, he says.

“You like country music? I’ve got country music. I wrote a song — ‘Are You Lonely Here With Me?’ — it’s a nice little song.”

In “Ocean’s Twelve,” “Souls Along the Way” plays in the background of a scene in which conned casino owner Terry Benedict (played by Andy Garcia) breaks up a wedding party to collar one of the crooks and tells him to cough up what he stole — or else. In a subtle nod to Mr. Hatch and his faith, the groom at the wedding is Virgil Malloy (played by Casey Affleck), another Mormon from Utah.

“I never thought I’d be rooting for the bad guy,” Mr. Hatch says.

But a love song for Teddy Kennedy?

“I said I wrote it for Ted and Vicki Kennedy,” Mr. Hatch says, bristling. “I wouldn’t have written a love song just for Ted.”

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