WASHINGTON (AP) — Forget all those inaugural concerts. The most pressing musical issue in the nation's capital Wednesday was whether a stone-faced senator from Oklahoma could hit the high notes in "Rocket Man" to pay off a college football bet.
Turns out he couldn't, but he gave it a shot.
Republican Sen. Tom Coburn did his best rendition of the 1970s Elton John classic before a couple of dozen congressional staffers and television cameras, making good on a wager he lost to Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida when the Florida Gators defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 24-14 in last week's BCS title game.
Nelson chose "Rocket Man" because he flew on the space shuttle Columbia as a congressman in 1986. If Oklahoma had won, Nelson would have had to sing the title song from the musical "Oklahoma!" — which also happens to be the official state song.
Coburn, whose daughter, Sarah Coburn, is a nationally acclaimed opera singer, warned that she didn't get her talents from him.
"Genetics don't have anything to do with opera," he joked to the crowd assembled in a conference room in Nelson's office.