From The Washington Post:
Facing growing dissatisfaction both inside and outside his campaign, Sen. John McCain ordered a shake-up of his team yesterday, reducing the role of campaign manager Rick Davis and vesting political adviser Steve Schmidt with “full operational control” of his bid for the presidency.
Schmidt becomes the third political operative in the past year to take on the task of attempting to guide McCain to the White House. A veteran of President Bush’s political operation, Schmidt will be in charge of finding a more effective message in the Arizona Republican’s race against Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, who leads in most polls.
The abrupt shift in leadership, announced to McCain’s staff yesterday morning, came after weeks of complaints from Republicans outside the campaign and growing concerns within it about the lack of a clear message, the cumbersome decision-making process, the sloppy staging of events, and a schedule driven largely by fundraising priorities rather than political necessity.
The problems crystallized this week, with McCain on a three-day trip to Colombia and Mexico, where he is talking about trade and drug trafficking, an exercise even some insiders considered a waste of the candidate’s time.
Schmidt, who managed California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s reelection effort and was a top aide to Vice President Cheney, will have broad authority to revamp the campaign and its message in the coming weeks. He plans a renewed focus on government reform, a theme that fits McCain’s brand but has been largely lost in the daily discussions of the economy and national security.
He will report to Davis, but all others in the campaign will report to him. Schmidt will have control over message, advertising, scheduling, advance work and the political operation — every major area other than fundraising. Davis will retain control over that area and will focus more of his attention on the selection of a running mate and convention planning.
Other personnel changes are in store. Nicolle Wallace, the former White House communications director who has already been involved with the campaign, will play a larger role and is likely to spend time traveling with McCain. The campaign has recruited Greg Jenkins, who oversaw advance work for the Bush White House, to take charge of the staging of McCain’s events, which have been a sore point among some.
Would someone kindly remind me how this would not be a Chimpy third term?
Even after the move, he remains surrounded by the same small clutch of political advisers: Davis, Schmidt, former lobbyist Charles R. Black Jr. and longtime chief of staff Mark Salter.
Remaining on the outside are [McCain’s former chief strategist who left in a shake-up in July 2007, John] Weaver and Mike Murphy, a GOP consultant and McCain confidant whose advice the candidate still seeks out.