July 3rd, 2008
12:40 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain team begins move towards a more centralized effort

The McCain campaign is changing its structure.

The McCain campaign is changing its structure.

(CNN) - In a Thursday campaign memo to the McCain campaign’s 11 regional campaign managers, the man newly named to steer the presumptive Republican nominee’s presidential effort announced some changes that seemed designed to make this year’s campaign bear a slightly greater resemblance to the successful, more-centralized Bush-Cheney re-election team.

McCain senior adviser Steve Schmidt, a Bush campaign veteran, signaled Thursday he is boosting the power of the campaign’s central headquarters in Arlington, with plans to hire a field director and political director in the coming weeks who will both work with Deputy Campaign Manager Christian Ferry.

But he also said that – despite speculation — the McCain campaign won’t be scrapping the de-centralized system that’s drawn skeptical reactions from many GOP observers this cycle. Schmidt wrote Thursday that the regional campaign managers were key to McCain’s success, even as he appeared to suggest that strategy would be set by national leadership. “We will be enhancing our headquarters political capacity to provide additional resources to you and your regions,” he wrote.

Schmidt said that over the past month, as the campaign launched its general election field effort, the regional offices had hired 70 staffers, deployed 17 state directors nationwide, and built statewide and county leadership teams in targeted states. He also said the campaign’s joint Victory effort with the Republican National Committee had resulted in an additional 84 offices and 113 staffers.

“It is an incredible amount of progress for a campaign that ended the primaries with no money, little infrastructure, and no formal organization outside the early primary states,” added Schmidt.

McCain’s leadership team underwent a shakeup this week amid Republican concerns that it was ill-equipped to battle Barack Obama’s campaign organization, with Schmidt taking responsibility for most of the day-to-day planning and strategy that had been handled by Campaign Manager Rick Davis.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Hillary Backer for McCain

    Mack is Back baby !!

    July 3, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  2. Frank

    From campaign to policies, McCain is really a third term of Bush.

    July 3, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. Jose Felix

    McCain...just give it up. You and your Barbie wife have a great future in Botox commercials.

    July 3, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |

    Brace youselves...

    the Bush campaighn in back in effect!!!!!


    July 3, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. Terry

    That picture with Cindy in the background just looks creepy.

    Realy creepy.

    Beware of McCain and his stepford wife.

    July 3, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. Gene

    I can just see McCain as president... re-organizing the white house every month or so. This guy can't run a campaign, let along the country. Is he going to be asking Obama to pay off his debts at the end of it all too?

    On a side not... you guys on this blog ever see the South Park episode where the kids are caught smoking? I'm trying to imagine PUMA headquarters... and I just see in my mind the Rob Reiner's "Stop Smoking People" headquarters, and the type of people there. If you've seen the episode.. you'll know what I'm talking about 🙂

    July 3, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. Liz from Atlanta, GA

    I don't think McCain will have luck with Bush's system. For someone who is trying to distance himself from a president with a 29% approval rating, he sure has been making alot of parallels lately. Obama is so much more organized. I look forward to him in the White House next year!!!

    Obama '08

    July 3, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  8. Emma, San Jose, CA

    Probably a strategy to no avail. McCain just doesn't get it. So many of us don't want his and Bush's style of Decider.

    July 3, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. Tammy - KCMO

    Why do I have to go to other news sites to read actual news?

    "McCain Backer's Firm Pleaded Guilty To Funding Terrorist Group In Colombia: Lindner was CEO of Chiquita
    Following a Justice Department indictment last year, Chiquita admitted to illegally funding the paramilitaries and agreed to pay a $25 million fine. "

    "Moreover, McCain's chief political adviser, Charlie Black, lobbied for Chiquita on two separate occasions in 2001. According to records, Black was paid $80,000 to work on foreign trade issues."

    "A group of top Republican contributors who financially fueled the famous "Swift Boat" campaign ads that helped sink Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign back in 2004 are starting to regroup.
    Carl Lindner, a retired insurance executive in Ohio and another top Swift Boat financier, has contributed $100,000 to the governors' fund. "

    I see the Republicans are playing fast and dirty as usual. What really surprises me is that all the people that say they are the "moral majority", "religious right" approve and vote for the party doing this.

    July 3, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. Tully

    McCain has this election in the bag. Anybody with a brain knows this. You McCain haters go back to talking about UNIBAMA'S fist bumps.

    July 3, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  11. tigerakabj

    It's too late for that McSenile. You are always trying to play catch up to Obama, who moved swiftly to centralize the entire Democratic Establishment as soon as he won the nomination as well as make needed adjustments (i.e. no lobbyists money going to the DNC from now on).

    You had 4 months to do that.

    Besides, either way you will lose by a landslide. The worse this economy and war get, the more likely even die-hard republicans will vote for Obama, who offers a clean break from Bush. And furthermore, all it will take is for you to snap in front of 20 million people after the nomination and the party will be more over than it already is. By the time Nov. rolls around, you won't have a prayer in retaining your senate seat.

    July 3, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  12. brent

    Seems like a fairly Republican thing to do...say with one side of your mouth that you are against centralization and for local control, and then with the other side of your mouth, you advocate against those exact things and implement it as something that is "necessary."

    What's good for the goose...

    July 3, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. My Way

    I’m glad the bitter Hillary supporters are going to vote for McCain. They must think, as do I, that women should NOT have the right to make decisions regarding their own bodies. Roe vs. Wade will be overturned! Can’t wait!

    Please Google "Songbird McCain"

    July 3, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  14. Jonathan G

    McCain't gonna be president!!!

    Obama 08!!!

    July 3, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  15. John, Brooklyn, New York

    Man, if McCain can't even be an effective chief executive of his own campaign how can he claim to be prepared to be an effective chief executive of the country!?

    July 3, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  16. Phil, FL

    I noticed in the news this morning that McCain helped write a campaign finance law that has a bunch of loopholes in it so he CAN get the mega bucks for his campaign that he wanted to prevent others from getting. Devious, if you ask me.

    Also, he was meeting with Dubya's brother in Mexico.

    Is this distancing him from W (warmonger)? Or does it just link them further.

    DO NOT TRUST McCain !!!!!

    July 3, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. Obama = Santa Claus

    I can't wait for a president Obama! Everyday will be like Christmas!

    Bring on the free goodies! Free stuff for everyone!

    Can Santa Obama and his Elves in Congress bring me a Hybird Escalade? How about some throwing in some Bling?

    July 3, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  18. Tori, Oregon

    How about being pro choice! If you continue to be pro life you are going to be way to the right and lose the woman's vote in the process or how about the fair wage act?

    July 3, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  19. albert griffith

    OBAMA/CLARK 08!!!!

    July 3, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  20. CNN = Jerry Springer of news

    Where are all the PUMA's? They must have started their 4th of July vacation early. I have hardly seen any of their comments on the Ticker today.

    As far as this post goes, no surprise McCain is trying to sway back toward the center. He had to pose with the neocons to try to get the base on board with his campaign, which didn't work too well. Now he has to try to work on getting independents/centrists back on his side. It is pretty hard trying to play both sides of a coin and have anyone really believe you.

    July 3, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. Mike

    Bush was re elected because he had not screwed up the economy yet. But the economy is a shambles now and McBush has no clue on how to fix it. McBush is locked onto bad trade agreements. The Drug War. And a never ending occupation of Iraq that costs multi millions of dollars a day.

    July 3, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. BUSHED!!!!

    CNN.....this year’s campaign bear a slightly greater resemblance to the successful, more-centralized Bush-Cheney re-election team........
    NO BUSH!!!!
    G......... I will be voting for McCain...........(McBush, McSame, McWwarmonger ...........see you at the Finish Line!!!!

    July 3, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. Loretta from California

    So....when should we expect to see/hear more negative attack ads and LIES?


    July 3, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. Marie

    He needs to more himself into an active community development.

    July 3, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. Praying for American

    Do we want a President in the White House that does not know the difference from an illegal alien vs. and illegal immigrant. When I heard his speech I could not believe that Americans are not listening to what Senator McCain is saying incorrect. But we all can all surely jump whenever O'bama misspeaks. Please let's all be fair. We are willing to vote for this man just because of what? By the way what is an illegal alien?

    July 3, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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