McKinnon To Step Aside From McCain Effort
By Chris Cillizza
Mark McKinnon, the lead media consultant for Sen. John McCain's (Ariz.) presidential bid, is stepping down from that role -- making good on a pledge he made last year not to work against Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) in the fall campaign.
McKinnon confirmed his decision to The Fix this afternoon. "I'll be transitioning, shifting position from linebacker to head cheerleader," said the always-colorful McKinnon. He added that he would continued to be a "friend and fan" to the campaign.
McKinnon, a former Democrat, played a central role in Gov. George W. Bush's 2000 campaign and the Bush-Cheney reelection four years later. He was part of a large contingent of Bush operatives to make the transition to McCain in late 2006 and early 2007, but was one of only a handful who stuck with the Arizona senator after his campaign's implosion last summer.
That same summer, McKinnon told Cox Newspapers that if Obama was the Democratic nominee, he would not play an active role in McCain's effort to defeat the Illinois senator.
"I just don't want to work against an Obama candidacy," McKinnon told Cox Washington bureau chief Ken Herman; electing Obama, he added, "would send a great message to the country and the world." McKinnon said at the time he would vote for McCain.
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