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Schweich: Video not plagiarism, inspired by love of Rolling Stones

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 7, 2010 - While Missouri GOP state auditor candidate/former Bush ambassador Thomas Schweich is at Yale University delivering a policy speech on Afghanistan, the political world back home is abuzz over his rock video.

Schweich said the video, "Gimme Back My Freedom," was created in one studio session last month, has nothing to do with his political campaign and wasn't financed with any campaign dollars.

Rather, it's an extension of his 30-plus years playing a guitar, writing and publishing songs, Schweich said during a telephone interview this afternoon.

Schweich said he used to play in a band when he was with the State Department. One of the video's instrumentalists is a former Washington co-worker who flew in for the recording session, which was conducted after only two rehearsals, Schweich said. Others in the video include some Webster University students, he added.

Schweich said the video was quietly posted on YouTube, and is definitely NOT going to end up on his campaign website.

He acknowledged that the lyrics reflect his national political views, and not any issues in the state auditor contest.

But he was most upset today by allegations on the Democratic-leaning site, Firedupmissouri.com, that the tune is patterned after Courtney Taylor-Taylor's "Bohemian Like You,'' recorded in 2000.  Schweich said that's absolutely not true. "The words and music are my own,'' he said.

His music heroes, Schweich continued, are a bit more well-known -- namely, members of the legendary rock band, the Rolling Stones. He's attended a dozen of their concerts.

That may explain why Schweich is sporting a striped T-shirt in the video -- one of Mick Jagger's favorite pieces of attire, back in the day.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.