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WASHINGTON (CAP) - The Obama administration has announced plans to expand federal efforts in an attempt to bolster chances that Swedish pop music group Abba will reunite for a concert tour this year. The move is just the latest in a series of failed reunion attempts made by U.S. presidents dating back to Ronald Reagan's second term.
"Listen, we are fundamentally changing, uhh, the way Washington does business," President Obama said. "I will speak with the members of Abba and, uhh, persuade them to do that which is in the world's best interest and, uhh, has been for two decades."
Obama's approach marks a departure from the tough line adopted by his predecessor George W. Bush, who critics charged was more interested in touting the past accomplishments of former rock and roll powerhouse Journey than he was trying to reunite a group that boasted 19 worldwide number one hits in less than a decade.
"The Abba blunder will always be the one that got away from President Bush," said Devery Ryan, author of the unauthorized biography, Dubya Starts With 'Duh'. "He had the Police, Cream, David Lee Roth with Van Halen - but never the one that mattered.
"And that will eat at him for the rest of his life," Ryan added.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama did create a video sending a message to the members of Abba, urging them to reconsider their anti-reunion stance and offering incentives to do so. Musical pundits and critics of the video appeal charged that the musical foursome did not immediately say they were going to reunite and sing together as a group.
"Well, we didn't expect that," said Carney. "We expect that we're going to make steady progress on this front."
However, Abba spokesperson Bjorn Ulvaeus said Obama's "fine words" weren't enough to repair the damage of years of anti-disco sentiment that led to the group's demise in the early '80s. "Not to mention that piece of skit movie, Mamma Mia," added Ulvaeus. "I'd rather cut out my tongue than sing songs for you pompous rycknings."
While the Abba effort has garnered bipartisan support in Congress, it could run into opposition if Republican-backed earmarks pushing for spending on other rock and roll reunion attempts are successfully attached to Obama's plan.
"Listen, no one wants to see Hanson get back together, despite what [Sen. Sam] Brownback may think," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). "In fact, I think we should be putting the money toward stopping them from releasing any more new albums. Ever."
The money to support one or multiple musical reunions is expected to come from bonuses recouped from insurance giant AIG, who in turn said they would sponsor any reunion tour and jack up the ticket prices to make up for the expected shortfall in executive bonuses.
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