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Rocker Alice Cooper Opens For Obama

(CBS)
TEMPE, Ariz. -- It was a rare treat for the White House press corps traveling with President Obama to Tempe, Arizona today: a surprise guest made an appearance in the pressroom. It was none other than Phoenix resident and rock star Alice Cooper. He was there to play his hit "School's Out" in front of the 72,000 people sweltering in the heat for the Arizona State University Commencement. Cooper was set to take the stage about 45 minutes before President Obama does for his first commencement speech as President.

Cooper dropped by the press room to say hello and share some wisdom. He said he's not political, and while artists like U2's Bono do a good job of mixing fame and politics, he's "Vaudeville" and is just an entertainer. Cooper said he's never been into politics and that when his parents would talk about politics or taxes when he was growing up, "I'd go into my room and play the Yardbirds or the Who loud." He also said that while he hasn't really talked to politicians, he has played golf with a number of former presidents at various events.

When asked what he'd say to Mr. Obama if he met him, "I'd probably talk about golf." He said he doesn't trust politicians who don't play golf and when told that Mr. Obama is a lefty, Cooper said "you can't trust them either."

He said his band is playing 100 dates a year and took time off to make today's concert. His son, who will graduate in 2010 from ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication is fronting a band that will play a few songs before his dad plays. "I'm here as a guest of Runaway Phoenix," his son's band, said Cooper.

Cooper was also asked what songs of his would be appropriate to be played at a rally with President Obama. "How come nobody did 'Elected?'" he asked, "that's number one." Cooper added some of hits to the growing list, 'School's Out' and 'No More Mr. Nice Guy.' "How about 'Welcome to My Nightmare?'" he asked with a laugh.

Robert Hendin is a CBS News White House producer.

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    Robert Hendin is senior producer for "Face the Nation" and a CBS News senior political producer.