Huffpost Politics

McCain Camp Shakeup: Rove Acolyte Takes Charge

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Rick Davis is being replaced by Steve Schmidt as head of day-to-day operations in McCain's campaign, the Politico reports.

McCain aide Carly Fiorina insists the move is a "gear-up," not a "shake-up."

But according to the New York Times, it's a revamp of McCain's entire strategy:

The shift was approved by Mr. McCain after several aides, including Mr. Schmidt, warned him about 10 days ago that he was in danger of losing the presidential election unless he revamped his campaign operation, according to two officials close to the campaign.

In the first public reflection of Mr. Schmidt's new role, the campaign is planning what will amount to a relaunch of Mr. McCain's candidacy after July 4, with the senator touring the country to promote a jobs program and visiting battleground states like Colorado, Wisconsin and Michigan to illustrate the economic problems he will be talking about.

As part of the shake-up, the McCain campaign is abandoning from what had been a big innovation by Mr. Davis, in which the campaign would largely be directed by 11 regional campaign managers who have been given power over everything from where Mr. McCain would go to what advertisements he would run. Mr. Schmidt has told associates that he feared that system was unworkable and would lead to gridlock in the campaign; instead, he is likely to install a political director in Mr. McCain's campaign headquarters.

Davis drew scrutiny for his career as a lobbyist, including his lobbying company's work for an Iran-tied Ukrainian billionaire.

Schmidt, on the other hand, comes from the Karl Rove school of campaigning.

Almost exactly a year ago, McCain fired his top aides and installed Davis as campaign manager.