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