Supporters rally around Hank Williams Jr.

Oct. 12, 2011 at 11:34 AM
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NASHVILLE, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Hank Williams Jr.'s new free single "Keep the Change" was downloaded more than 150,000 times in 24 hours, the American singer's representatives said.

Released Monday, the song also has been played on,, and countless radio stations, Webster & Associates Public Relations said in a news release Tuesday.

Williams found himself at the center of a media firestorm this week when ESPN dropped his "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight" theme song from the opening of Monday Night Football because he appeared on the Fox News program "Fox and Friends" and said President Barack Obama playing golf with House Speaker John Boehner was "like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin) Netanyahu."

Williams later said on his Web site he was sorry if his remarks offended people but also accused ESPN of "stepping on the toes of the First Amendment, freedom of speech, so, therefore me, my song, and 'All My Rowdy Friends' are out of here. It's been a great run."

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar of "The View," Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show," former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh last week defended Williams' right to speak his mind.

"Hank has always been provocative ... and said provocative things," Goldberg said. "What kind of standards are we holding folks to when we say, 'Oh, no, you can't say ... ' We can't say, 'Listen, man, that's not a good thing to do,' so instead we pull. ... Is that the right thing? Those among us who are without sin, cast the first stone."

"He was making a comparison," Behar said.

"I think every American has the right to voice their opinion," added Hasselbeck.

"I don't think you should be kicked off TV just for expressing yourself," Bill Maher said on his HBO weekly show "Real Time." "I am defending this guy."

"What? They pulled the song? We count on him to gauge our nation's football readiness. If anything, just give 'em a slap on the wrist," said Stewart.

Williams appeared on "The View" Tuesday and insisted he wasn't saying Obama was like Hitler, but merely making an analogy in trying to say Obama and Boehner probably have as much in common as Hitler and Netanyahu.

"America is a country of choices -- we have choices and options -- and I have choices and options," Williams said.

When asked if he would stay out of future political discussions, he responded: "How am I gonna do that? We want you to be president, we want you to be senator. ... I ain't got time -- I wanna go fishing!"

"The View" airs on ABC, which, like ESPN, is owned by the Walt Disney Co.

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