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NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Ricky's 2-Step For W. Is Worth A Good Look
by ALBOR RUIZ
January 22, 2001
THE MAN'S got the moves!
No one, not even his greatest doubters, can deny that fact about George W. Bush after his little dancing gig with superstar RickyMartin on Thursday. And who knows where this first encounter may lead?
"I think it was great," says Angelo Falcn, a New York political analyst. "The Latin beat is infiltrating the Republican ranks, and you know that once that happens, it has a very debilitating effect. Soon, they all will be doing a Jesse Jackson."
The new President danced with no one but Ricky, but this does not mean that the "Livin' la Vida Loca" star had the D.C. stage all to himself. Surrounded by people like Wayne Newton, Muhammad Ali and Larry King, Cuban-American pop singer Jon Secada was also there. He may not be as famous as Martin, but he is a darling of the Miami Cuban-American community.
"They supported him in Florida, so Bush had to give them something to make them happy," says Queens political activist Alice Cardona.
Cardona, by the way, is all in favor of Martin entertaining the new regime.
"This was a chance to highlight one of our own, and, besides, politics make strange bedfellows anyway," she says. "No one criticizes Sinatra or Streisand for singing at the White House, right? And Ricky is a Puerto Rican from the island who has been fighting for Vieques . Did he have a chance to whisper in Bush's ear?"
If he did, one would hope it wasn't sweet nothings but a plea to stop the unconscionable bombing of Vieques , home to more than 9,000 American citizens. Martin had asked President Bill Clinton to do so at a private meeting last year.
Martin's childhood friend, Robi Draco Rosa, the author of the singer's greatest hits, "Livin' la Vida Loca" and "The Cup of Life," is not happy with his buddy's new song and dance.
They met when Rosa was 12 and Martin 9 as members of Menudo, the Puerto Rican teenybopper group. Even though Martin claims to be an independent, Rosa thinks that singing at the inauguration was a very partisan thing to do.
"This is a betrayal of everything that every Puerto Rican should stand for," Rosa said in a statement. "Singing 'The Cup of Life' at George Bush's inauguration is like playing the fiddle while Rome burns. This is a President who would have people in his cabinet who would obstruct the exercise of civil rights, human rights, consumer rights, the right to choose, the right to be free of gun violence and the right to a clean environment."
No comment from the Puerto Rican heartthrob or his people.
Rosa is not alone in his feelings. Disappointment and puzzlement with Martin's actions run deep in many Puerto Ricans .
"Ricky must be desperate for money," says graphic designer Jennifer Napoli. "Otherwise, I don't understand why he did such a thing after the stance he has taken on Vieques . Under Bush, this is an issue that is going to become more complicated."
Falcn, though, takes a more philosophical approach.
"I take it with a grain of salt. Life has taught me not to expect too much from entertainment figures," he says. "When you reach a certain level, like Ricky Martin has, you are no longer an individual but a corporation. Decisions are business decisions, and they are not made by the artist."
NEVERTHELESS, Marc Anthony, another Puerto Rican singing sensation who is also at the corporation level Falcn talks about, did say no.
Yet, in a capital full of Cheneys and Ashcrofts, a President who's got the moves has to be a good thing.
More power to Ricky!