The country star respects the Republican presidential candidate "for his heroism over the years"
Credit: Mary Altaffer/AP

John Rich is proud of his role as one of the most visible and well-known entertainers at the Republican National Convention this week.

“I’m a young conservative guy and there aren’t many of us around,” Rich, half of the duo Big & Rich, said before performing his political anthem, “Raisin’ McCain,” at a benefit for Red Cross Hurricane Relief on Monday night.

Rich, 34, has been campaigning with John McCain and plans to continue through the November election. “I’m very deliberately trying to be out there with my ideas and my music,” Rich says. “I respect McCain for his heroism over the years. He stands for the things I value and there aren’t many young conservatives like me who make it into the media, so I’m trying to do my part.”

Rich’s rock-infused anthem focuses on McCain’s years as a POW in Vietnam and ends with the refrain, “We’re all just raisin’ McCain.”

McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, was at the Minneapolis club BarFly to cheer on Rich and the opening act, country trio Carter’s Chord, who debuted a song designed to get young women out to vote. Becky Robertson, of the trio, says she’s eager to vote for McCain’s vice presidential pick, Sarah Palin. “It’s a great time for women in this country. It’s very important for young women to get involved.”

Monday night’s event changed from a “Political Chicks a Go Go” party to a hurricane fundraiser, as Gustav threatened the Gulf Coast. Sponsors included Lifetime Networks, Rock the Vote, and RightNOW!.