WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senator John McCain's presidential campaign and congressional Republicans are stepping up their efforts to coordinate campaign strategy and political messaging.
McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis and senior policy advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin are scheduled to meet Friday morning on Capitol Hill with the chiefs of staff for all Republican House members, according to several GOP congressional aides.
"This is the campaign generally starting to take on the mantle of the leadership. McCain now becomes the standard bearer of the Republican message," Sean Noble, campaign spokesman for Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., one of McCain's early Hill supporters, told CNN.
Noble said he expected McCain campaign officials to lay out where the candidate will campaign in the coming weeks, what themes he'll be hitting, and what the fundraising targets are. Noble also said the meeting would give senior staff of House Republicans who backed McCain's primary rivals a chance to meet the top staff members of McCain's campaign.
Noble noted it wasn't that long ago that McCain could only count on a handful of GOP Hill supporters to carry his message.
"Now he can reach out to essentially the entire House Republican Conference to serve as surrogates," he said.
One congressional aide said senior Republicans have already been coordinating with the McCain campaign, including regular communication among Davis, senior McCain advisor Charlie Black and senior Hill staff.
The McCain campaign recently enlisted John Green, a lobbyist and former aide to retired Senator Trent Lott, R-Miss, to lead Congressional outreach efforts.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Oh, acts as the liaison for the campaign to House Republicans and Senator Jon Kyl, R-Ariz, is the liaison to Senate Republicans. But the aide said, "coordination has ramped up just in the last couple of weeks."
Another source downplayed the significance of Friday's meeting, saying most of the information would be "scripted and generic" message coordination, but said it was valuable as "an initial touch of gloves for rank and file Members."
Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel said that Republicans see the value of McCain's ability to reach out to independents.
"People are increasingly enthusiastic about how much he'll help in the fall," Steel said.
GOP aides pointed to April 15th, tax day, as a natural opportunity for McCain and Hill Republicans to work together to highlight differences with Democrats on economic policy.
Boehner announced Thursday that Republicans will argue on the House floor next week that Democrats support "the biggest tax increase in American history" by not extending President Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.