This song was inspired by President Bush's visit to Martin Luther King's tomb on his 75th birthday in 2004, a gesture which was met by busloads of protesters. Stipe told the Daily Telegraph March 8, 2008: "The President showed up, stood with [Dr King's widow] Coretta Scott King, and protesters were held back. He gave a speech. We [the public] paid for the trip because he flew there on Air Force One, but he was also doing a charitable event for the Republican Party the same day, so they made a couple of million bucks. He gave this speech next to Coretta, who didn't want to stand there with him, but agreed to do so if she could make some kind of anti-war statement. I'm not sure exactly how it went down, but there were so many protesters in Atlanta that they used buses to keep them away from him. I was so insulted by that. So that's the genesis of that song."