Brow Beat

The Steady Rise of Politicians at the Grammys

Both First lady Michelle Obama and former U.S. President Bill Clinton have been nominated for Grammys this year

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The announcement of the 55th Annual Grammy nominations this morning revealed that both First Lady Michelle Obama and former U.S. President Bill Clinton were nominated for best spoken word album—Obama for her gardening advocacy in American Grown and Bill Clinton for his pro-government tome Back To Work: Why We Need Smart Government For A Strong Economy.

You may recall that Barack Obama has already won this award twice—for The Audacity of Hope in 2008 and Dreams from My Father in 2006. What you may not have noticed is that, over the last decade, the category has been overrun with politicians, as Obama, Jimmy Carter, both Clintons, and Al Franken have all received multiple nominations.

While politicians have recently begun dominating the category, they’ve had a presence since the early days of the category, which was introduced in 1959. Below is our attempt at a comprehensive list of all the major political figures to be nominated for the best spoken word Grammy—from Adlai Stevenson to Michelle Obama.

Did we miss anyone? If so, let us know in the comments.


Adlai Stevenson II, for The Voice of the Uncommon Man (nominee)


Senator Everett Dirksen (R, Ill.), for Gallant Men: Stories of American Adventure (winner)


Everett Dirksen, for Everett Dirksen’s America (nominee)


Senator Sam Ervin (D, N.C.), for Senator Sam at Home (nominee)


Rev. Jesse Jackson, for Our Time Has Come (nominee)


Rev. Jesse Jackson, for Speech by Rev. Jesse Jackson (winner)


First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, for It Takes a Village (winner)


Former President Jimmy Carter, for An Hour Before Daylight: Memories of a Rural Boyhood (winner)


Senator Al Franken (D, Minn.), for Lies and Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right (winner)

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D, N.Y.), for Living History (nominee)


Former President Bill Clinton, for My Life (winner)


Senator Barack Obama (D, Ill.), for Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (winner)

Senator Al Franken (D, Minn.), for The Al Franken Show Party Album (nominee)


Jimmy Carter, for Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis (winner)

Al Franken, for The Truth (With Jokes) (nominee)


Barack Obama, for The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (winner)

Bill Clinton, for Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World (nominee)

Jimmy Carter, for Sunday Mornings in Plains: Bringing Peace to a Changing World (nominee)


Jimmy Carter, for We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land (nominee)


First Lady Michelle Obama, for American Grown (nominee)

Bill Clinton, for Back To Work: Why We Need Smart Government For A Strong Economy (nominee)