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. toby hill

    It's funny how when Obama moves all so slightly to the center on some issues, not including domestic drilling, CNN is the first to tout that he's so "mainstream" but when McCain moves more to the center, including domestic drilling, he's "out of touch"?

    CNN has been so Shanghighed by the Liberals that they don't even know what center means.

    July 3, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. Jason

    All who keep calling out McCain for flip flopping but say Obama is making a wise political policy change are stupid. Stupid people vote for stupid reasons which gives you stupid leaders. This country has no shot of changing course unless we stop the popularity contest.

    July 3, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. Susan

    Why in the world is McCain trying to win votes outside the U.S.? Where does he think the voters are? Stay in the U.S. and get something going!

    July 3, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. Drew, Central FL

    "McCain senior adviser Steve Schmidt, a Bush campaign veteran"

    That says it all. McBush indeed.

    July 3, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. Kara

    OBAMA IN 2008!!!!!

    July 3, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  6. ANGIE

    how can mccain run the country if he cant run his campaign and then to have bush people a part of it wake up people what does this tell you??? i bet your answer was not so good

    July 3, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. Rob

    Are you wearing clean Flip=Flops ?

    July 3, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. Ell from TX

    VERY CONCERNED when McCain can't remember what he has said?
    It looks bad I don't think he realized what thats called "A LIE"

    And how can he call anyone ever an elitist with the money his wife spends wow unbelievable!

    I think he skipped some tracks somewhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 3, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  9. max

    Right chosen word Rebacca. "Effort", yes effort.

    July 3, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. McDisorganized

    Is he planning on running the nation this way?....add some Bushies, some serious credit card debt.....

    July 3, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. concerned

    I heard horrible stories about the first Mrs. McCains treatment does anyone out there know facts on the matter. I think a canidate for the highest office should have integrity with his own family to lead AMERICA. I hope she was not mistreated badly?

    July 3, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. Ian

    Isn't this the same strategy that Bush used?

    July 3, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. York Howze

    How in the world does McCain now find himself playing catch-up when he had a four month headstart during which Clinton and Obama bashed away at one another?

    July 3, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. al





    July 3, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  15. BABA

    Where are the smarts people to help this guy out? I'm sure this country wants to make sure you can run an organized campaign before they put you in the oval office. Don't you think it's too late?

    July 3, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    John is behaving just like Hillary. How pathetic!

    July 3, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. 4obama

    dumpmccain.com find the truth yourself

    July 3, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. Gene

    When someone changes their campaign strategies, does that mean that they're saying "what I believe isn't working... so now I'm gonna say that I believe something else"?

    Really... I don't get it... a candidate announces that they're changing their campaign to appeal to a different group.. isn't that just announcing to the world that you're changing your views just to win a campaign?

    July 3, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. gary


    July 3, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  20. Maggie Muggins

    Let's see McCain thinks giving people the right to due process to either prove their innocense or their guilt is one of the worst things the courts could rule!!!!!!!!

    Think about it how would anyone like to be arrested and locked up for years without the benefit of being charged with any crime or the need to need any proof a crime was committed???????

    The bottom line is there are plenty of idiots making decisions or determinations on who they think might be responsible for doing something or other. Without due process everyone risks being victimized by these anti social tactics. Remember it wasn't that long ago these same ideolists burnt women at the stake for being witches.

    July 3, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. Jeff from AL

    He is sounding and looking more like a third Bush term every day that goes by. And that ain't good!

    July 3, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. Chris

    All his "EXPERIENCE" and "JUDGEMENT" and he can barely keep up...

    July 3, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  23. RV - Arizona

    McCain is a traitor to this country and a counterfeit hero! Among Vietnam Vets he is know as Songbird for collaborating with the enemy!

    Do your research before you make stupid decisions an vote for that dam traitor!

    AZ for Obama!

    July 3, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  24. Cynthia - Arkansas

    Button down the hatches! The Republican attack team is gearing up! That's all they got! Oh, I forgot the media seems to have fallen in love with McSame, just like they did Bush. It is really weird to me. Just listen to their tone when they talk about Obama. Especially Rick Sanchez and Solidad O'Brian. What's up with that?

    July 3, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. A.J. in Fla

    Mr. McCain, when are you going to start a serious, honest and political confrontation with Mr. Obama, so that at the end of the day we will know what you folks are made of. And please , leave abortion, religion and gay issues out of the discussion as we feel that 80/90 % of the people in our Country does not care about it at all...!!!

    July 3, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
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