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Senator Tom Coburn settles BCS bet by singing "Rocket Man"

Oklahoman Modified: January 14, 2009 at 4:24 pm •  Published: January 14, 2009
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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.

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