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The Boston Herald
Aug 19, 2005 - 01:00 AM

by GAYLE FEE and LAURA RAPOSA with ERIN HAYES

Caught between rock and The Governator

The Rolling Stones, who have managed to stay mostly apolitical for their 40-plus years in the limelight, find themselves in the middle of a bipartisan brouhaha as they kick off their American tour at Fenway Park.

Whilst their new tune "Sweet Neo Con" is rankling conservatives, liberals and union activists are annoyed that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is throwing a $10,000- to $100,000-a-head fund-raiser at Sunday's show.

"It's kind of amusing,'' said band publicist Fran Curtis, "one day we're getting yelled at over 'Sweet Neo Con' and another day about Schwarzenegger. In a world where everyone's entitled to have an opinion, we don't ask people what they believe when they come in the door. Everyone's welcome.''

Of course - at ticket prices that top out at $450 - why wouldn't they be???

But we have to think that the Stones can't be too thrilled that The Governator is threatening to upstage them as he heads to town, trailing controversy and protesters.

Hundreds of California nurses are planning to picket Sunday's show to protest what they say are Schwarzenegger's Heart Of Stone health-care policies. They will be joined by a contingent of Massachusetts nurses, teachers, firefighters, and activists.

"The Rolling Stones should be ashamed of themselves,'' said Jamie Court, head of the anti-Arnold Foundation For Taxpayer & Consumer Rights in Cal-eee-for-neee-ya, which operates the Web site www.arnoldwatch.org.

Court said Ahhhhnold's event, which is raising money for Schwarzenegger's ballot initiatives, violates Massachusetts scalping laws because he is charging above face value for the Stones seats. The group, in conjunction with local consumers, plans to file a complaint.

But according to a spokesman for Attorney General Tom Reilly, Arnold can charge whatever he wants for tickets because of the "added value'' of his presence. "

"It doesn't appear as though he's violating any laws,'' said Corey Welford. But this is the guy who got away with charging nine bucks for 'Kindergarten Cop.' ''

Meanwhile, on the other side, Jagger finds himself on the defensive as conservatives squeal about the pull-no-punches lyrics to "Sweet Neo Con,'' a tune off the forthcoming "A Bigger Bang'' CD.

Mick denies that the ditty is aimed at President Bush saying, "it wouldn't be called Sweet Neo Con if it was.''

But with lyrics that reference Dick Cheney's old firm Halliburton, the Pentagon and the Christian right, it's clearly aimed straight at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

"It is certainly very critical of certain policies of the administration, but so what, lots of people are critical,'' Jagger told the syndicated show "Extra.''

Curtis said the Stones frontman wrote the tune after a long, heated discussion with a good friend "who happens to be a Republican.''

"They had different points of view but that doesn't mean that person can't be your friend,'' she said. "It's gotten a little out of control.''

Meanwhile, one Republican we know won't be attending the show is Gov. Mitt Romney. Romney and his wife, Ann, went to the 2003 concert at Gillette Stadium but left shortly after it started.

"We didn't enjoy it as much as we thought we would,'' Romney told FOX25 political guru Joe Battenfeld. "We left a little early.''

We're told that the Romneys, who are Mormons, were offended by the racy content of a Stones backdrop video. But the guv's peeps said that wasn't what gave them a 19th Nervous Breakdown.

"They left early to beat the traffic,'' said Laura Nicoll.

File Under: Sweet Con-troversy.




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