Ex-governor takes blame for Malala event song flap

AP News
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Posted: Oct 29, 2014 4:55 PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell on Wednesday blamed himself for a flap that led to a song being scrapped from a program honoring Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai.

Malala was in Philadelphia last week to pick up a Liberty Medal. At the ceremony, the National Constitution Center, which gives out the medal, had agreed to play a music video by the 14-year-old daughter of a wealthy car dealer who has given to Rendell's past political campaigns.

In the song, titled "America," the girl sings about how lucky she is to live in the U.S., "where the kids are safe."

Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban over her support of girls' education and went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Her advisers nixed the song hours before the event, Rendell said.

"They came back and said this is culturally insensitive," Rendell said. "I don't think it was any anti-Americanism (on their part). I think they just thought it made it feel like America's the superior nation."

The girl's family was disappointed her song wasn't being used and left the event before Malala spoke.

The family had called Rendell, the vice chairman of the constitution center's board, about a month ago to suggest the unpublished song be used at the event.

"I thought it would be nice to add it to the program," Rendell said. "If there was a mistake made here, it was probably mine."

The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported Wednesday on the squabble.

Constitution Center President Jeffrey Rosen said the song, while well-intentioned, did not fit "the austerity of the event."