McCain shakes up campaign organization - again

By Laurie Bennett

July 3, 2008 at 9:34am

John McCain rearranged his campaign organization yesterday, putting political veteran Steve Schmidt in charge.

Although Rick Davis will continue to hold the title of campaign manager, Schmidt will have near total control of day-to-day operations.

Nicknamed “Bullet” by Karl Rove, for his bald head and deadly impact, Schmidt helped California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger win re-election in 2006. He was a media strategist on President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign two years earlier. He also served as a counselor to Dick Cheney.

The McCain campaign, which has endured repeated shakeups, downplayed the importance of the job change.

“Voters don’t care about the organizational chart of our campaign,” spokesman Jill Hazelbaker told The New York Times. “Today’s move is simply an expression of our understanding of the need to scale up for a general election campaign against Barack Obama.”

Schmidt is a partner at Mercury Public Affairs, a lobbying and communications company that has worked with major Republican campaigns.

Terry Nelson, McCain’s campaign manager until an earlier shakeup last July, is a partner of the firm.

Another partner, Kieran Mahoney, working with George Pataki on all three of his successful campaigns for governor of New York. He was campaign manager of Al D’Amato’s 1992 Senate campaign and national political adviser for Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential run.

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