Frankly, I never could figure out what the GOP was thinking in using the songs of Jackson Browne without permission — they were just asking for problems — but in a way it highlighted the lack of foresight in the doomed-from-the-start McCain campaign.

In any case, McCain and the Repubs are making amends with the uber-liberal entertainer:

Sen. John McCain and the Republican Party are apologizing to Jackson Browne for using one of his songs during last year’s presidential campaign.

The GOP is also vowing to get artists’ permission before using musicians’ work in future political campaigns.

The apology and pledge were released Tuesday along with an announcement of a settlement with Browne over a federal copyright infringement lawsuit filed last year in Los Angeles. Browne sued McCain and the national and Ohio Republican parties for using part of his song “Running on Empty” to mock Democrat Barack Obama’s proposed energy policies in a Web ad.

McCain apologized for using “Running on Empty” against Obama, but the song turned out to be a euphemism for McCain’s candidacy.

The McCain campaign also used Heart’s “Barracuda” for some of Sarah Palin appearances, which didn’t thrill Ann or Nancy Wilson — the latter of whom I’ve had a thing for since I was 14, so I’m willing to overlook the liberalness even though I’m also a Palin fan.

This leads me to a classic joke flashback from Jay Leno: “Hillary Clinton has picked ‘You and I,’ by Celine Dion, as her campaign theme song. In a related story, John McCain’s campaign song is also by Celine Dion. It’s the theme from ‘Titanic.’”

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