Bill and Hillary Clinton woo Texas with mariachi

In Texas, where Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama are in an intense battle to win Tuesday's primary, the Clinton camp is going the extra mile to appeal to voters.

During Bill Clinton's two-day swing through the state this week to campaign for his wife, nearly every rally featured a mariachi band.

The Clinton campaign has been criticized for its spending, but the mariachi bands weren't complaining.

At Austin Community College, nine-member Mariachi en Fuego helped warm up the crowd before the former president arrived. Marlo Soliz, who plays the small guitar-like instrument known as the vihuela, said the band had been booked to play three Clinton events. And the band was getting its usual $480-per-hour fee.

The leaner-and-meaner Obama campaign requested an appearance, added Soliz, "but they didn't want to pay us." Mariachi en Fuego declined the gig.

-- Robin Abcarian

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