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Scott Wagman pulls a John McCain by playing Van Halen’s ‘Right Now’ in campaign video

in The Bay and the 'Burg by
I did not think the voters of St. Petersburg would see a candidate as gauche as Deveron Gibbons, who has the temerity to send out a mail-piece which cribs from Lawton Chiles’ 1990 campaign at the same time it shows a picture of Gibbons next to Charlie Crist, but Scott Wagman’s recent antics almost take the cake for flat-out gumption. Put aside my complaints about his advertising on Google without the proper disclaimer, but you can’t look past him putting out 600 campaign signs in city right-of-ways after signing a permit request agreeing to specifically not do such a thing.

Understand, it’s the little things that add up to a lot. A business executive who covers up an illegal dumping from his paint company is now the mayoral candidate who sticks the city’s codes enforcement office with the task of cleaning up his campaign signage.

So what can we make of Wagman’s latest gaffe? As a loyal reader point out, one of Mr. Houghton-Wagman’s campaign videos uses the Van Halen song “Right Now” at the end of it. After an inquiry to Van Halen’s management office, I learned that the band was completely unaware of Mr. Wagman and certainly had not agreed to lend their song to any mayoral campaign in St. Petersburg, Florida.

No big deal, right? So what if Scotty lifted a song and made it the soundtrack to a campaign video. Wanna know who else did same damn thing and got blasted for it? John McCain.

John McCain used Van Halen’s “Right Now” during an entrance in Ohio, following in the footsteps of President George W. Bush, who used the song during his 2004 re-election campaign. However, the band issued a statement which makes it clear that “permission was not sought or granted nor would it have been given.”

Van Halen apparently didn’t want to get involved in the presidential elections and said they are not endorsing either candidate. Their 1991 track Right Now, used during John McCain’s entrance onto the Nutter Center stage to announce his choosing of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, was thus used without permission from the band.

Now that I think about it, Wagman’s campaign it taking on an eerie similarity to McCain’s, in that both campaigns are (being) defined by a series of minor gaffes and mistakes that end(ed) up (in McCain’s case) costing the candidates, who were generally better people than their campaign portray(ed) them.

Wagman has grown increasingly defensive about these mistakes. He posted this on his Facebook page:
Actually, Scott, you are not winning. Even if you end up winning, you are not winning now, at least by all polling indications. You are not being attacked, you are allowing yourself to be attacked, by making so many minor mistakes, that your campaign may end up being one large one.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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